Edible Helium Balloon Dessert

By Elizabeth Rice

What is Helium?

Many people breath in helium for entertainment. The helium causes your voice to sound high pitched, but do you know how this process works?

The pitch of your voice actually does not change. It is the frequency that changes. Frequency depends on density. The more frequent a sound is, the faster the sound travels. The density of helium is twice as less as air, so the sound travels faster. This impacts the tone of your voice, making it higher.

Disclaimer: Helium is non-toxic, so it is an interesting activity. However, people are replacing oxygen when breathing in helium, so inhaling too much can be dangerous. Never directly breath in helium from a tank.

Now we know the process of how helium makes our voice higher, but what is helium? Helium is the second element with the symbol He, making it a noble gas. Helium is also the element surrounding the sun.

Edible Helium Balloon!?

There’s a restaurant called Aliena serves edible helium balloons for dessert! The restaurant is located in Chicago, Illinois and run by Grant Achatz and Nick Kohanos.  The executive chef of Aliena, Chef Mike Bagale, invented the flavorful balloon which has been on the menu since 2012. Beagle talked about the dessert in an interview in 2016 as being “a step forward in cuisine; this is something that hasn’t been done before.”

Since then, the dessert has grown to be very popular. Many people including celebrities like Justin Timberlake have tried the dessert. Justin Timberlake even posted a video on Instagram of him trying the dessert and then saying “Yo, y’all want to go tour?”

In an episode of Masterchef, the competition consisted of what could have been the most difficult challenge. The three contestants, Samuel, Trent, and Bryan had to cook an edible helium balloon. The contestants had to follow fifty steps to create the toffee balloon. The balloon has to make the ice cream with the ingredients of pink vanilla white chocolate ganache (a whipped filling of chocolate and cream), dark chocolate sauce, a chocolate cherry bonbon (a piece of candy), and a chocolate cone float.

Other restaurants have also tried to recreate the helium balloon dessert such as the restaurant in Central Park, Singapore. The balloons come in many flavors including strawberry, coconut, orange, and passion fruit. The balloons served at Central Perk Cafe comes in three flavors and colors which include the red color balloon which is strawberry flavored, the blue balloon which is blueberry flavored, and the yellow balloon which is banana flavored. The balloons at the Central Perk Cafe come with a chocolate or regular straw.

The balloons at Aliena consist of the ingredients of dehydrated granny smith apples, malic acid, sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, and water. The balloon string is made of dehydrated granny apples.

Creating the dessert is not that simple though. It is a multi person job. One person makes the mixture, another person uses a helium tank to inflate the balloon, and the other person makes sure the balloon is tied together correctly.

The balloon can just be sucked in and then a deflated balloon is left over which is edible. The edible helium balloon makes your voice high pitched and sound just like a regular helium balloon.

While the restaurant is pricey with reservations plans starting at $195 and reaching up to $395 per person, the plans offer at least a 10 course meal. Aliena has also had many recognitions including being a three Michelin star restaurant since 2011. This means has “an exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey.” There are only currently fifteen three Michelin star restaurants in the United States, and Aliena is the only one in Chicago. The restaurant has also been on the list of The San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants since 2007, ranking sixth place in 2011.

Master Chef Ice Cream Float Recipe: https://tenplay.com.au/channel-ten/masterchef/recipes/ice-cream-float

The BuzzFeed Nifty YouTube channel has also made a instruction video of how to make the edible helium balloon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XgDWHnRRQU

Behind the scenes from the YouTube channel, Business Insider. “The best restaurant in America serves helium balloons you can actually eat”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PKvqdObaRw

Aliena’s Website: https://www.alinearestaurant.com/site/portfolio/balloon/