Wandering the World
There are several types of ice cream Americans are familiar with: regular standard ice cream like what we would get at 31 flavors, soft serve pumped out of a machine, usually vanilla, chocolate or swirl, and if we are feeling exotic, gelato from Italy.
None of those are anything like Turkish Ice Cream (dondurma in Turkish). How different can it be you ask? Well, Turkish Ice Cream is chewy for starters. It includes two special ingredients called mastic, a resin from a tree that is a bit like gum, and sahlep flour made from orchid root. It globs together and stretches in ways you have never seen before. Venders are able to lift out a whole tub of the stuff on a stick and catch it before it stretches all the way down to the hot pavement. They play with their customers giving and taking, swirling and ducking, not unlike a cat plays with a mouse.
Crowds gather around laughing and clapping, the sale is an event, a street performance, complete with costumes. If you haven't tried Turkish ice cream yet, I recommend you come on over and join the fun!
For this particular ice cream my daughter and I headed for Istklal Caddesi, just up from Taxim Square. We were going to get the ice cream before watching a movie but discovered that the movie (Spiderman) was about to start so we put it off until after. After graciously agreeing to be my model for this post, she also grudgingly shared the ice cream with me as we headed home. We decided that it was delicious and hit the spot!