Do you remember the feeling of standing mournfully in front of the ice cream truck as a child, trembling with an intense inner conflict between gluttony and appreciation for the beauty of the popsicle in your hand? Prepare yourself for deja vu as you behold the abstract, geometric beauty of Kyl21, a line of popsicles that are like edible objets d’art.
Coming out of the Science Kitchen–an independent food lab based in Berlin that specializes in inventing and developing food products for a sustainable, vegan-friendly future–Kyl21 was the end result of four years of experimentation by gourmet and food designer David Marx. Labeled the first “sci-fi” popsicle, Kyl21 isn’t just distinctive because of its futuristic looks: it also has a better melt, thanks to a special glazing process, and a new mouth feeling.
“Popsicles know no age, no gender, no borders: They’re beloved all over the world,” Marx tells me. “But after 100 years of popsicle history, it hasn’t changed much. We thought it was the right time to bring the popsicle to the next level, making it healthier, prettier, and more functional.”
The Kyl21 name is a mash-up of the Norwegian word for molecule, molekyl, and the age (21+) of Marx’s intended popsicle audience. Kyl21’s targets adults, not only in the visual aesthetic but the recipe, which can range from standard fruit flavor to alcoholic. The popsicles are also vegan. “Forget stinky soy or coconut milk,” says Marx. “We have invented new recipes for popsicles that are, for the first time ever, based on rice and oats. And the taste is just gorgeous.”
The processes by which Kyl21 popsicles are made are just as futuristic as their shapes. “We actually use liquid nitrogen to freeze our popsicles,” Marx explains. “That means that we do not need as much sugar, fat, or air to freeze them.” That also means that each popsicle actually requires a lesser volume of ingredients to make: When liquefied, each popsicle equates to a single DIN scoop, or about 45ml.
But even better than the technology and the taste are the looks. Kyl21 popsicles are a visual treat, with each popsicle coming in a complex, multifaceted, and geometrically beautiful design. The shapes range from six-pointed stars to unfolded cubes, and there’s even one that somehow looks like an 8-bit depiction of a sword. A molecular number carved into the stick further distinguishes each Kyl21 popsicle.
Right now, the Science Kitchen is producing about 1,000 Kyl21 popsicles per day, but the company is looking to branch out. “We can create accurate, detailed forms, so there’s a lot of potential for brands to come to us to create their own unique popsicle using Kyl technology,” says Marx. They are also looking to build up their own production facilities in Berlin.
Sadly though, that means that for now, you can only get a Kyl21 popsicle in Berlin, so if you’re in Kreuzberg, stop on by the Science Kitchen. The only danger is that you’ll sit there admiring your popsicle’s geometric beauty for so long that it undergoes a phase transition into a rivulet running down your arm.