BY EILEEN MORRIS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RACHEL SWETNAM
After a reflective summer hiatus in Spain to revamp their philosophical and professional roots, both partners arrived at the intrepid decision to relocate from Denmark to the United States. They originally settled on New York City, as Laura could find teaching work, Christian could find restaurant work, and their families in Denmark would be but a five-hour plane ride away. Upon arriving in New York, though, Toxboe and Nielsen were discouraged to discover that the real estate market was too exorbitantly expensive to finance the roughly eight-month season. But it didn’t take long for the pair to envisage that, though neither of the them had so much as visited, Los Angeles would be where they’d ultimately own and operate four beloved locations.
A Danish friend tipped them off to Abbot Kinney in Venice. “One day, we were driving around, and we had to go [back to Denmark] soon and I was like, ‘Oh, what are we going to do, Christian?’ We hadn’t found a location. We were dead broke. There was tons of pressure from our parents. And so, I was like, ‘Why don’t we go down to this Abbot Kinney [our friend] was talking about. And we pulled down and we both said at the same time: ‘Pull over, this is amazing. This is it.’”
Since their start in the spring of 2008, N’ice Cream has ultimately expanded to four beloved operations. Customers can also buy their product at Whole Foods in Westwood on Gayley Avenue and, as Nielsen excitedly relays, “that won’t be the only Whole Foods you’ll see us in!”
Last summer, N’ice Cream outsourced the milk-base for their ice cream, but decided this year to laboriously produce their gelato and ice cream by inhouse by hand. The milk-base, from which all N’ice Cream’s ice cream and gelato derive, consists of organic milk from Rock-View Farms of Downey, California, and skim milk powder; for sorbet, fruit is added. The milk powder is combined with a flavor, salted caramel or almond hazelnut for example, stirred, and then put into a batch freezer (a reverse oven, of sorts) which stirs and freezes the product. N’ice Cream is committed to utilizing organic and unimpaired ingredients to create innocuous (?) concoctions, so they use guar gum, a plant-based natural stabilizer, as opposed to emulsifiers.
The question that Nielsen says customers and inquisitive bloggers alike ask: Where is the Danish influence in your product? Her answer is simple. “We didn’t come to the US, and we certainly didn’t come to California, to be your local Danish ice cream and gelato shop. We want to be just be your local ice cream and gelato shop. Sure, around Christmas or if our parents visit we offer Elderberry sorbet or Salted Black liquorice.” Nielsen insists, “We do this for fun and for fun only. And if it’s ever not fun, then really, what’s the point?”
One thing is for certain- Nielsen and Toxboe, in addition to their staff, work extremely hard to provide an idiosyncratic experience for their loyal customer base. Straightforward and wholesome, with their giant waffle cones on hand, they strive to perfect classic gelato flavors. N’ice Cream is proof: it’s nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you try.
N’ ice Cream, 1410 Abbot Kinney Boulevard Venice, CA, ilovenicecream.com