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New fair food provides 'smoke and mirrors' experience

Nitro Ice Cream, a new food vendor at the Pierce County Fair this year, uses science to give customers dessert and a show.

Its ice cream is made from liquid nitrogen that turns into gas, flash freezes and creates a spectacle before being turned into food.

“There’s all kinds of steam and noise and smoke and mirrors and stuff like that,” said Jerome Sorenson, owner of Nitro Ice Cream. “Not only is it great ice cream, but it’s fun to watch it being made.”

The stand will offer vanilla cones, caramel, caramel apple and fudge sundaes, and root beer and orange soda floats.

The caramel apple sundae is Sorenson’s signature dish. It’s made of apple slices with vanilla ice cream in the middle and drizzled caramel.

The Nitro Ice Cream stand will also hosts games and giveaways for free ice cream at the fair, and offer $1 “wee ones” kid cones.

Sorenson said his ice cream is different from usual fair food.

“There’s really no other ice cream that’s made right on site,” said Sorenson. “It’s the best ice cream I’ve ever had.”

He lets people “try before they buy” and will be offering free samples. 

Sorenson said he’s so confident in his ice cream that he once convinced a woman to throw away her ice cream from another stand at a fair in Illinois.

“A lady came up and we said ‘sample our ice cream and tell us what you think’,” said Sorenson. “She tasted our ice cream and she threw hers in the trash.”

Sorenson said he gives away free ice cream to anyone who throws theirs away. Nitro Ice Cream is part of Sorenson’s family business, First Choice Concessions. His wife, Jennifer, and children, Jacob, Nicholas, Cameron and Roman, help him at events. He was invited to join the vendors at the Pierce County Fair after some tasted his ice cream at another fair.

Sorenson got hooked on Nitro Ice Cream after his friend gave him a free sample.

“As soon as I tried it, I said ‘that’s what I’m looking for’,” said Sorenson.