Traditional Arabic ice cream Booza - Mohamed Martini
CAIRO - 3 July 2017: The origins of iced desserts have long history across many countries from ancient Greece, China and Persia through the Roman Empire and India to modern Europe.
The recipes evolved from the Athenian snowflakes mixed with honey and fruit, China’s frozen mixture of milk and rice, Persian rose water noodles to more modern creamy English and soft Italian ice cream of the 18th century when the dessert started to become commonly available. The iced desserts reserved for the royalties are now available in every corner shop and also can be made at home with the numerous recipes and home ice cream makers.
Syria is believed to be the country of origin for a distinctive type of ice cream. The area of Damascus has a long history spanning back to the 18th century which made it a famous place for visits to the ice cream parlor Bakdash established in 1885.
The local delicacies are of a particular recipe of pistachio covered sticky ice-cream called Booza. The elastic texture of Booza is due to the ingredients of mastic and borrowed from Turkish salep, an orchid flour which is supposed to delay its melting in the hotter climate. The Arabic ice cream is famous in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey with its varieties of spice and rose water.
The well-known Syrian ice cream is available in Egypt too. You can find a home made version in the Seventh District in 6th of October City near Cairo. Mohamed Martini is proud of the Syrian products in the family run shop which amongst many specialties offers handmade bars of traditional Syrian ice cream.
Martini revealed that the secret is in the recipe and ingredients. Special milk from a farm in Cairo is used while cream and nuts are added. The ice cream is made at the premises of the shop in the special kitchen according to a traditional Syrian recipe he used to follow when living in Syria.
The Syrian delicatessen store which is situated just behind the October 6 University has been fairly popular since its opening two months ago amongst Egyptian, Iraqi and Syrian buyers. The store offers variety of a home-made Syrian food and deserts.
Could it become as popular as the 18th century Damascus ice cream parlor? Ice cream lovers looking to find an authentic taste and little out of town adventure will not be disappointed. The family run shop is a 30 minute drive from Cairo’s city center. The flavor of an original recipe and traditional method of making certainly deserves a place of attention amongst the summer puddings.