Color-changing ice cream: Mix a physicist, dairy, and 'love elixir'

A former physicist has developed an ice cream that changes colors as you eat it.

Darren Staples/REUTERS
A dog licks an ice-cream cone during the heatwave in Skegness, eastern England, July 19, 2006.

The days of mood rings and Hypercolor T-shirts may be gone, but if a Spanish physics professor's idea takes off, this generation may get its own color-changing phenomenon.

Manuel Linares is the inventor of Xamaleón, a psychedelic ice cream that changes color as you eat it.

Licking the ice cream initiates the color shift. The heat of your tongue and acidity of your saliva react with the ice cream, whose flavor has been likened to tutti-frutti, to transform it from periwinkle blue to pink and purple.

But is something so strange safe to eat?

Prof. Linares is keeping quiet as to his trick, as the special recipe is patent pending. But he insists that the ingredients are all natural.

Before the ice cream is served, it is sprayed with a concoction Linares calls a "love elixir" that accelerates the reaction.

When Linares left academia for culinary arts, he took courses at the Hotel Business School Hoffman in Barcelona. There, he took an ice cream class.

But when the instructor encouraged the budding chefs to come up with a new flavor of ice cream, Linares shocked his classmates by aiming for looks over taste.

"When he asked me what type I was going to make, I said one that changes colour," Linares is quoted as saying in the Australian Times. "Everyone laughed, but as a physicist I know that there are various possibilities that might work and I was delighted when I managed to crack it and create an ice cream the changes colour."

Linares was inspired by the glow-in-the-dark ice cream concocted last year by British food inventor Charlie Francis.

This color-changing food may seem a little unsettling, but many ice cream enthusiasts and curious eaters have flocked to Linares's store, IceXperience. Although the ice cream is only available in small-town Spain right now, Linares has bigger plans for his mysterious dessert.

Ice cream may become a staple snack for partiers, as he is working on an ice cream that reacts to ultraviolet lights – or black lights – often found in nightclubs.

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