Glow In The Dark Ice Cream
November 9, 2013

Glow In The Dark Ice Cream

Crazy food is all the rage now, isn’t it? There was a time a few years ago when ‘back to basics’ was the thing; a reaction to the over-fussiness that had engulfed the restaurant business. ‘Homemade’ this and ‘wholesome’ that. Honest cooking still has its niche, as does stuffy fine dining, but the newest kid on the culinary block is ‘food science.’

Kitchens are being turned into laboratories (or maybe the other way around) in order to turn the heads of customers and build an industry reputation. Possibly through a love of food, too; let’s not be cynical.

The latest weirdness to come out of this trend is glow in the dark ice cream. CBS reported that British ‘food inventor’ Charlie Francis, who founded the Lick Me I’m Delicious ice cream company, has perfected the idea that sort of works for both summer and winter (and sort of for neither, but again, let’s not be cynical).

Glow in the dark ice cream required assistance from both jellyfish and the Chinese. The jellyfish element is that, like jellyfish, the ice cream uses “calcium activated proteins that react when they are agitated, or to put it a non sciencey way, it glows when you lick it,” as Francis explains it. More specifically, your tongue’s neutral PH raises the PH of ice cream by ‘warming it up.’

It was a scientist from China who Francis first found had managed to synthesize the luminescence of protein in jellyfish. Francis then decided to try and utilize the idea in order to make novelty ice creams for his company, which was already quite novelty. The blog says: “The first ice cream contraption was born in 2011, forged in the freezing fires of mount ice cream, it is the portable nitro ice cream parlour. Top secret construction of the second contraption experiment was completed in December 2012 with the launch of the World’s first ever nitro ice cream buggy – honk. As we speak, top secret martial art engineers are working on the next contraption which is mind bogglingly amazing and we can’t wait to show it to your all but it’s not quite ready yet.” There’s a touch of the Willy Wonka about this guy.

The extent of his comments on the safety of the ice cream is “Is it safe to eat? Well I tried some and I don’t seem to be glowing anywhere, so we’ll go with a yes for now,” and the cost of the product is $225 per scoop. But the success of Heston Blumenthal, other food scientists, and various novelty foods have shown that people will pay for new experiences.

Glow in the dark ice cream from the UK reminded me of the story that breast milk ice cream was a hit there a while ago (yes, human breasts), until the authorities put an end to it on health and safety grounds. That ice cream retailed for only around $20, although presumably the price has rocketed since the ban. You would hope they stored it as an investment anyway, but maybe the just scoffed it all as the authorities came bearing down, in an orgiastic feast reminiscent of the last days of Rome.

Image Credit: Black Rock Digital / Shutterstock

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John is a freelance writer from the UK, currently living in Japan and thoroughly enjoying their food and whiskey. His first novel, Three Little Boys, and his travel book, Following Football, are currently available on

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