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Bakdash - world's first ice-cream parlor


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Heba E. Husseyn
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« on: March 16, 2019, 09:10:50 am »





This Bakdash ice cream outlet is in Al-Hamidiyah Souq, old city Damascus.
Image Source:  Syrian ice cream (Ema'a)


We do know from documented history that the world's first coffee shop, Kiva Han, was opened in Istanbul in 1475 by two young Syrians, Hakam from Aleppo and Shams from Damascus. Additionally, the culture of ice-cream parlors did not start in New York or Dubai. It started in Damascus.

Bakdash (بكداش‎) , the earliest known ice cream parlor in history is in Old City Damascus, Syria, established in 1885 inside Al-Hamidiyah Souq. It is famous for its pistachio-covered 'booza' (بوظة). Booza is the name given to the oldest form of ice-cream that started in the Levant in mid 1800s. It has a special elastic-texture with maximum resistance to melting with the use of aromatic resin exuded from the bark of the mastic tree, a small evergreen Mediterranean shrub. Bakdash ice-cream parlor was a well-known tourist attraction until the war. Reportedly, it still serves over 12,000 local customers daily despite the destruction of the infrastructure in post-war Damascus.

Funny ..... the international community speaks of Bakdash as the "Ben and Jerry's of the Middle-East." But when Bakdash was established, neither Ben nor Jerry were born nor did their ancestors have a clue about quality ice-cream. Ben and Jerry's ice-cream chain in the U.S. came around 1978, nearly a hundred years later!



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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2019, 09:16:24 am »



Subhan'Allah ..... wowie!!  that sounds so lovely!   Smiley     Great info as I never knew about Bakdash.   Is this kind of ice-cream they serve here similar to what is called 'kulfi' in Pakistan?    The pistachio covered style reminded me of kulfi Smiley   Have you heard of kulfi, Sister Heba?   
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2019, 09:22:02 am »



MashAllah, amazing.   Such a beautifully articulated and concise post.  The information is marvelously interesting. 

Sister Ruhi, doesn't sound similar to kulfi.  Kulfi doesn't contain mastic .... and that's why the problem with it is that it melts a bit too fast.  Also, kulfi consists of pistachio bits inside it whereas Bakdash special is sprinkled with chopped pistachio on top.  So that makes it different too.




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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2019, 09:24:31 am »




.......

Sister Ruhi, doesn't sound similar to kulfi.  Kulfi doesn't contain mastic .... and that's why the problem with it is that it melts a bit too fast.  Also, kulfi consists of pistachio bits inside it whereas Bakdash special is sprinkled with chopped pistachio on top.  So that makes it different too.

Yes, that's right .......

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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2019, 09:44:01 am »



Subhan'Allah, this is my favorite dessert Smiley   and all of our household.   Once upon a time before the war when in Syria, if there was no Bakdash booza on weekends, kids would be furious Smiley   

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« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2019, 09:46:15 am »



Aw!  really?  Cheesy    Isn't there a branch of Bakdash at the place you folks are residing now?   
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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2019, 09:50:01 am »



No, not here yet unfortunately.  Branches have come up in Amman (Jordan), Istanbul (Turkey) and Sydney (Australia).


Some memories of delicious booza!  Smiley



This is pistachio sprinkled Bakdash booza ice cream in cups. 




Here we see Bakdash booza ice cream in the shape of ice-cream log cake.   It tastes mesmerizing to say the least  Smiley 




Bakdash booza ice-cream parlor, Jordan branch.


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« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2019, 10:14:26 am »



SubhanAllah ......    Smiley   absolutely mouth watering !!    Booza looks so white.  Does it have a standard flavor or varying flavors?
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« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2019, 10:28:05 am »


It has a standard flavor and no artificial coloring.  That's why it looks very white, that's the natural color.  Thus, the ingredients are pretty much standard too, and also very natural ones.  That includes milk, bit of heavy cream, mastic gum, salep, sugar, little rose water for flavoring and plenty of chopped pistachio for a thick coating on top.  In addition to the rose water flavor, the mastic gum gives a very subtle floral aroma to the booza ice cream.   So, it basically carries the thick creamy-evaporated milk flavor with a slight floral whiff. 

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« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2019, 10:35:02 am »



Ah, okay.  So actually it is very much like the kulfi in Pakistan.  But kulfi is minus the mastic gum and salep.  Flavoring is the same. 

Btw, what is salep?


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« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2019, 10:45:03 am »



Salep is a kind of flowering plant of the orchid genus.   The tubers (thick underground stems) of this plant consist of a type of plant-starch, a kind of nutritious cornstarch-like flour.  This is one of the must ingredients.  I guess it contributes as a thickening agent along with whole milk and cream .... though I'm not an expert on the precise recipe of Bakdash's booza  Smiley   I just enjoy eating it. 

Mastic gum also has various health benefits.  It's excellent for gastrointestional health.  It helps to keep the skin clear, and also promotes healthy gums. 

 
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« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2019, 10:50:58 am »



I see, sounds marvelous.  Very interesting ....
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