When Shock Ice Cream & Candy Cafe owner Elyse Richman dusted off her old cotton candy machine and decided to try adding the fluffy stuff to a soft serve ice cream cone—calling it a Carnival Cone—she never imagined millions of people would soon be drooling over her creation online. But, as luck would have it, that’s exactly what’s happened.
“It’s been insane,” Richman says, explaining how much her business has grown since introducing the Carnival Cone (originally called a Cotton Candy Cone) about two weeks ago. Of course it didn’t hurt that a widely followed food blogger posted a photo of it, and then thisisinsider.com posted a video which had just shy of 3.5 million views as of 2:52 p.m. on Thursday.
“I’ve had a cotton candy machine for 15 years in the back room,” Richman says, noting that she brought it out to try selling the confection in the shop this summer. But eventually she was inspired to combine the cotton candy with soft ice cream. She put it on a cone, added ice cream to the center, like it’s sitting in a cloud, and threw on some rainbow sprinkles. It looked great, so she posted a photo of it online.
The video followed and Shock Ice Cream hasn’t been the same since. “We watched it go from 100,000 [views] to a million by 6 p.m.,” she said about the day the video went live.
Richman says she’s had visitors coming from around Long Island just to try her cotton candy Carnival Cones. On Thursday, she said people were waiting at the door for her to open at 11 a.m., and a family of 20 came in and every one of them ordered the now famous treat.
“It’s all about the picture,” Richman adds, marveling at the power of social media. “We put emojis in it and dress it up—it makes a really good picture.”
To try a Carnival Cone for yourself—and take a picture of it for your Instagram followers, visit Shock Ice Cream & Candy Cafe at 99 Main Street in Westhampton Beach. Call them at 631-288-2522 or visit them on Facebook and Instagram (@shockicecream), where you’ll find plenty of other Carnival Cone photos.