What do rose petals taste like when you combine them with chocolate? Does “dark chocolate crispy caviar” bear any relation to sturgeon eggs? What is an “aroma bar” and what does it have to do with ice cream?
Find out for yourself at this year’s Magnum Ice Cream dipping bar, when doors open at 132 Spring St. in SoHo at 11 a.m. Friday.
We got a sneak peek at the seasonal shop, returning to the city for its third summer with its customizable ice cream bars and highly Instagrammable backdrops. Let us walk you through the experience before you pay a visit:
A ‘bartender’ will help you assemble your bar
This is the second year working behind Magnum’s pop-up counter for both Jayden Taveras, 24, left, and Ginger Maldonado, 22. Take it from the pros: The shop is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays, but your best bet to avoid long lines is heading over first thing in the morning or right before closing.
First, you pick out three toppings: You have 18 different options, most of which you won’t find in your typical ice cream parlor. New additions for this year include “dark chocolate crispy caviar” (which is basically crispy rice covered in chocolate made with a really high percent of cocoa), caramel half-popped popcorn and dried cherries.
This was last year’s most popular topping: Rose petals were a big crowd pleaser, according to Jonathan Jones, senior brand manager for Magnum North America. They have a distinctly aromatic taste and they’re not the easiest things to chew, we can say after trying them ourselves.
Then you pick your ice cream flavor: It’s not a tough choice: vanilla or chocolate.
Next, it’s time for dipping: To coat your bar in a crispy chocolate shell, bartenders dip it in one of three kinds of Belgian chocolate: white or dark. What makes chocolate Belgian? Part of the distinction is the process by which it’s created — it’s made by melting small chocolate discs.
Your toppings go on before the chocolate sets: They’re first mixed in a cute mini shaker.
Drizzle time! Again, your choices are dark, milk or white chocolate. We recommend choosing one that pops against your toppings and bar.
Feeling indecisive? Select one of two “lookbook” bars, which will rotate through the summer. “Some from the ‘lookbook’ will be fashion inspired, some more art inspired, some culinary inspired,” Jones says. The Spring and Summer 2018, upper right, is covered in pink chocolate and garnished with raspberry crumbles, rose petals and a white chocolate drizzle.
Now it’s time for the photo shoot: It didn’t happen if it isn’t documented on Instagram. “We wanted to create a custom backdrop for your Magnum bar, so you can create your own piece of art,” Jones says of the two colorful display cases in the back of the store.
Take a seat by the window: One of the nice things about an ice cream bar with a chocolate shell is that you can take your time eating it.
Check out the art in the window: These “bejeweled Magnums” pay homage to the city that never sleeps, Jones says. From left to right, the bars reference cobblestone streets, skyscrapers, taxis and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Before you leave: Test out the steampunk-style “aroma bar,” featuring the scents of rose, vanilla and chocolate. The new addition for 2018 is as weird as it sounds: a squeeze of the rubber pump releases the smell into the brass bell. “All together,” says Jones, Magnum’s pop-up really brings a multi-sensory experience, from the taste, the sounds, the smells, to the touch.”