By Jamie Crow | Staff Writer
Few foods get the universal love that ice cream does. Nothing quite compares to a delicious, soft-serve cone of chocolate ice cream. It’s familiar and comforting in a lot of ways. There are always new trends in food, though, and ice cream is no exception. One recent craze is rolled ice cream, a process which originated in Thailand. I was incredibly curious about this concept, and I got the chance to try it at NatuRoll, a rolled ice cream parlor that recently opened in Lawrenceville.
First of all, NatuRoll’s name is clever, and I love a good play on words. NatuRoll uses local, fresh ingredients, which live up to its name. NatuRoll is also unique because of the process it uses to make its ice cream. Rather than simply pulling a lever to get the cold stuff, this ice cream is meticulously created and, at the end, rolled.
To make the ice cream, the batter is poured on a freezing plate, toppings are added and the cream starts to freeze ,right before your eyes. The frozen cream is chopped up to evenly mix in the toppings, then it is painted back onto the plate, and a final topping of syrup is added. Finally, the fun part: The ice cream is rolled up into five rolls, placed in your cup and topped with whipped cream.
NatuRoll just opened at the end of August, so I was expecting business to be at a slow start. When I went to the shop, however, the line was out the door. This hole-in-the-wall business has no place to sit and eat, so the entire shop is essentially one big line. Once I got in, however, I was greeted by the smell of everything sweet and enticing. The scent of sugar filled the air, accompanied by the sweet aroma of chocolate and candy. I was hooked.
There are two menu boards posted on either side of the shop, with a total of 12 flavor combinations to choose from, plus a flavor of the month. The options ranged from classic Mint Chocolate Chip to the fruity Very Berry With a Cherry, rounding out with the downright indulgent S’mores flavor, which featured a roasted marshmallow on top. I ended up choosing Sweet and Salty: a mixture of pretzels, caramel and chocolate.
I ordered and was struck by the price — $7.49 — and I began questioning whether or not this trend was worth breaking the bank for. After ordering, I waited for a little bit longer because the ice cream is made-to-order. There were four ice cream makers behind the counter waiting to make our ice cream dreams come true. When my name was called, the amazing process began.
I was allowed to choose between chocolate or vanilla batter and, of course, I chose chocolate. The maker crushed up a few pretzels and covered it with ice cream batter, adding caramel on top. The whole process was hypnotic, and my eyes were locked on the batter that was about to be transformed. The sequence from batter to ice cream took about 5 minutes, and in that time I’d forgotten all about the money I’d spent.
I was so excited to see the ice cream rolls be placed in my cup and topped with whipped cream, pretzels and more caramel. The rolls looked like roses, which added to the aesthetic. The creation was absolutely Insta-worthy.
Once I snapped a few pictures of my ice cream, I dove in. The taste brought me back to the familiarity of ice cream that I love. Rolled ice cream tastes exactly like regular soft serve, something that shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did. There were two notable differences, though. The toppings were mixed into the ice cream so well that there was a bite of pretzel and a hint of caramel in every bite, which simply can’t be achieved with pre-made ice cream. Also, the texture was slightly different because rolled ice cream is colder than normal soft serve.
At the end of the day, most ice cream tastes pretty similar, and rolled ice cream is no exception. Rolled ice cream is a pretty neat concept, and the process alone lived up to the hype. It was definitely a little pricey, but don’t let that stop you from trying it. NatuRoll is a great place to try out this new trend and I’d definitely recommend going, especially if you’re looking to impress all of your Instagram followers with a picture of your trendy ice cream creation.