Written by Stephanie Condon, CNN
It’s rare that a food found only in relatively isolated corners of the world makes it to the US and Europe, but the polar ice sheet has done it several times. Now, the makers of polar food ice cream in Antarctica are poised to do it again.
At just 40 square miles, Omicron, the first apres-ski drink from the frozen region, was developed in October 2018 in Val di Fiemme, a wealthy Swiss alpine town in the Italian Dolomites and a playground for the well-heeled.
Cosying into the silky, gooey blends of crème anglaise, bananas and strawberries, will be an Italian entrepreneur and a scientist who, thanks to sponsorship from the Swiss company E&J Gallo, have been brought to the tiny islands of Antarctica.
“As a brand, we try to find our unique raison d’être and I think that every brand has to do that,” said Marc Urrutia, president of Switzerland-based Fountain Ice Cream, which manufacturers Omicron.
“It’s our distinctiveness that allows us to take a long time to see some big brands fail.”
Marc Urrutia, the president of Fountain Ice Cream, which manufactures the ice cream. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Antarctica’s extensive freezing zone and the fact that the freeze occurs at a depth of more than 1,800 feet (550 meters) mean that it’s hard to ship to Europe in a conventional shipment.
Ursula Martin, a glaciologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute, the German facility that helped research and develop Omicron, said that getting a late spring shipment would be nearly impossible.
“It’s a different culture in the Antarctic,” she said. “It’s completely different.”
Urrutia is adamant, however, that the taste of Omicron is not just a gimmick. He previously said that the milk base used to make the product is the essence of Antarctica.