Haven't heard of snow cream yet? Don't worry, neither has the majority of the country -- but we're betting that will change.
A trend that is quickly taking hold in some of the nation's most popular food cities, including Los Angeles and Las Vegas, this cold dessert is a bit hard to describe.
The most popular "shavery" in Los Angeles, Blockheads, describes it as a combination of Hawaiian shave ice and ice cream. Kuma, Las Vegas' first and currently only shop, recently opened by Chef Jet Tila, notes that it is "unlike anything you've ever experienced."
Though this sounds like hyperbole, we can pretty much guarantee this description is accurate. Lighter than ice cream, smoother than shave ice, and creamier than sorbet, there isn't much to directly compare this to ... but whatever it is, it's delicious.
Generally served in Asian-inspired flavors, don't expect Yogurtland-esque offerings to be on the menu. Most snow cream shops offer flavors such as black sesame, green tea, and taro (alongside the original, sweet cream flavor), toppings including red bean, lychee, and mochi (with some more common fruit toppings mixed in), and most people top their creation with condensed milk. It's no surprise that most snow cream shops are run by Asian-American families, and are often located in Asian enclaves within bigger cities.
One of the coolest parts of a snow cream experience is the actual way it is prepared: the snow cream is shaved off of large blocks, each of a different flavor. Unlike shave ice, the snow cream comes off in large ribbons, not small, icy pieces.
It is also important to distinguish this type of snow cream (a separate category of dessert) from a variation of ice cream made from snow.
So why do we think you should take the plunge and try this new dessert trend? Here are our top 5 reasons:
1. Since it's so much lighter than ice cream and not made with the syrup that goes into snow cones, snow cream will satisfy your sweet tooth without making you unbutton your pants.
2. It's a great excuse to try some flavors you may not usually seek out.
3. You can tell everyone you were an "early adopter" when this trend really takes off.
4. You can add an Instagram a picture to the growing #snowcream, which has over 3,600 photos to date.
5. These shops tend to have really, really cute logos.
And for those of you that don't have a snow cream shop in your area yet? Be patient.