Here’s the scoop on one of summer’s biggest food events.
This Friday, the Museum of Ice Cream opens to the public for its monthlong, sold-out run in the Meatpacking District.
The museum is founder Maryellis Bunn’s longtime vision for an “interactive ice cream wonderland in NYC.”
“Quite simply, our entire team is obsessed with ice cream,” said Bunn, formerly the head of forecasting and innovation at Time Inc., who is working with artists, designers and ice cream purveyors to put together the cool experience. “Ice cream is universally loved and enjoyed, and what better time of year to celebrate all things ice cream than the height of summer?”
The museum is like an ice cream playground, with an ice cream sandwich swing made for two and an ice cream scooper seesaw. One of the highlights is sure to be the Sprinkle Pool, where visitors can swim in a pool of giant fake sprinkles, complete with a ladder and diving board (Bunn is eager to note the sprinkles are not edible).
The museum’s Willy Wonka-inspired Chocolate Chamber celebrates the common ice cream ingredient with a chocolate fountain and digital projections of chocolate dripping down the walls, all set to a unique score. Over in Tinder Land, visitors can find their perfect ice cream flavor match with a custom app. Ice cream-inspired art works by the likes of Tom Sanford and Anna Barlow Ceramics will also be on display.
Of course, indulging in ice cream will also be a part of this interactive experience. The museum’s Scoop of the Week will feature creations by “some of the city’s most beloved arbiters of cool treats,” Bunn said. That includes Blue Marble (July 29-Aug. 8), which is collaborating with Kellogg’s for a sundae; OddFellows Ice Cream Co. (Aug. 10-15); Maman with McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream (Aug. 17-22), which is offering a boysenberry rose milk jam flavor; and Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (Aug. 24-31). Black Tap will also provide treats to those waiting in line for the museum.
“I love the idea of an entire museum dedicated to ice cream,” said Oddfellows cofounder Sam Mason. “I really hope that people can learn about the building blocks of making ice cream — from what makes ‘craft’ ice cream special to what makes Dairy Queen special.”
Mason is using the museum as an opportunity to preview OddFellows’ plans for a “composed soft serve dessert.”
“This is one of our classic flavor combos and a version of our cornbread sundae that we’ve had in Williamsburg,” Mason said of his Scoop of the Week, which will feature cornbread soft serve with blueberry compote and corn soil.
The museum is also collaborating with food scientist Irwin Adam for its own “one-of-a-kind ice cream” that visitors can taste, Bunn said.
Adam is principal and creative/scientific director of the Toronto-based Future Food Studio, which was involved in last month’s Food Loves Tech expo in NYC. Though somewhat mum on the details, he said he’s focusing on creating a “reimagined ice cream shop” for the museum.
“It’s really going to be a play on flavor, and an experience in flavor,” he said. “The work that we do is about creating food conscience. It’s going to be a fun experience at the end that makes you think about what’s possible in flavor.”
Bunn and company are on to something — beyond this Friday’s opening, during which you can visit the museum for free, tickets for the rest of the monthlong run have already sold out.
“It’s an easy sell,” Irwin said. “Everyone loves ice cream, there’s no doubt there.”