This past Saturday 4O1! was invited to participate in the Da Vinci Science Center’s Ice Cream Wars 4.0, where teams compete to make the best scientific ice cream frozen with liquid nitrogen. The 4O1! team battled four other teams hailing from PPL, WFMZ 69 News, LSI, and The Morning Call for the coveted Ice Cream Wars Champion trophy.
The competition was fierce. MCall had a wintry vanilla-peppermint mix, PPL brewed some chocolate-espresso, WFMZ floated blue ice cream in root beer, and LSI twisted up chocolate, caramel, and pretzel. All of the contenders had some pretty delicious flavors, and the team was a bit nervous. We went with super-vanilla pink ice cream with fresh strawberries and crushed Oreos. And it was also pretty delicious.
At high noon, millions of children (ok, a couple hundred) swarmed the Da Vinci ice cream stations, where they were given one – or two, or three – samples of each flavor. They were scarfing ‘em down faster than we could churn ‘em out! Teams prepped liquid batches of their ice cream at their individual stations, then sent a team member to a pouring station where highly trained professional scientists would add liquid nitrogen to the mixtures. The liquid nitrogen froze the milk into what looked a lot like ice cream, then evaporated out of the concoction making a safe-to-eat tasty snack.
When the frozen ice cream was brought back to our station, we were in a race against time to dish it out before it melted back down into soupy-goop. Plus, there were always a few kids waiting for a taste of the freshest batch. We had a few repeat customers, which bolstered our spirit.
There were a few awards given out before the champion was announced. Needless to say, I was on edge. LSI received best costumes, WFMZ received most creative recipe, PPL won most scientific recipe, and 4O1! was responsible for the best (loudest) cheering section.
We were definitely stoked to be there, hundreds of kids and some adventurous adults stopped by our station, high-fived Shaun, giggled with us, and tried our patent-pending Strawberry Cookie Crunch. And we all learned a little something about the science behind the foods we eat. And hey, guess who took home the championship trophy?