My favorite summer treat was Syrian ice cream; while many family members enjoyed the creamy ice cream served in cones by street vendors near Sibki Park, I savored this Syrian summer delight.

I loved because it was a feast for my senses.. the ice cream maker prepared it in view of passersby. I watched him pound the thick white rubbery substance and toss it from side to side on a cold marble slab using large flat metal spoons. I smelled the aroma of Arabic gum, fresh pistachios and rosewater; a heavenly combination.  The smell was only surpassed by the taste; a thick chewy gum-like consistency brought on by the Arabic Gum (Mistika) in the recipe, sweet enough but not too much.  I had bowls full and didn’t stop until I felt brain-freeze.

Mom brought Syrian Ice Cream home on special summertime occasions.   Visiting guests, a birthday, a family member’s graduation.  It came in a log-like shape, that mother sliced to pieces.  Some covered with Pistachios, others plain.  It was served with waffles cookies shaped like today’s Pringles Chips.

Back then, ACs weren’t popular, so unless it was a cool summer night, the ice cream provided the cooling effect.  The ultimate experience was having a bowl, under the dark evening sky on the balcony, gazing at the stars.

more on food.. much more !!