Mastic ice cream

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Dondurma seller in Istanbul
Booza ice cream store in Damascus

Mastic ice cream is an ice cream with stretched and sticky texture. It is named after the "mastic" spice

Mastic ice cream is common in Arab countries and Turkey. Originally, the only mastic ice cream was in Turkey. The recipe was secret. In the mid 19th century, a Syrian trader in Istanbul stole the secret recipe of the ice cream and took it to Damascus. There he developed a local version of the ice cream that gave it a light and airy texture. He exported the ice cream to the Arab countries. Because the mastic spice is expensive and difficult to get, ice cream sellers prefer to replace the mastic spice with glucose.

Two types of mastic ice cream[change | change source]

  • Turkish mastic ice cream or dondurma (Turkish: Maraş dondurması, the ice cream of Maraş city) is the original mastic ice cream. It is much more difficult and heavy than the Arabic mastic ice cream. It has more fatty because it has more sweet cream or heavy cream with a high fat percentage. In the past, people who lived in the mountains made it with snow, goat milk, mastic, and "dried orchidaceae powder" (type of "tubers"). In southeast Turkey, the ice cream was more solid and sticky because of the powder of the orchid flowers that grow there. This ice cream is so solid that a knife and fork is used to eat it.
  • Arabic mastic ice cream or Booza (Arabic: الآيس كريم واللبن, milk ice cream) is fibrous and elastic. It is very sticky, which makes it melt more slowly in the hot Arab countries. It is also softer than the Turkish ice cream. In Iraq, it is customary to eat the ice cream on square wooden sticks. This type is most common in Syria and Lebanon. There are ice cream sellers who show tourists where they grind the "mastic resin" with a mortar and pestle while singing and playing. In the old city of Damascus, there is a famous ice cream store who called "bakdash" that is famous in the Arab world for its Arabic mastic ice cream. It is a popular attraction for tourists, especially tourists from Arab countries.

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