As the sign says "Not all ice cream is ice cream". The best known Turkish ice cream is Maraş dövme dondurması (beaten ice cream), a super-thick variety that was developed in the central Anatolian city of Kahramanmaraş where summers are hot enough to turn ice cream into a necessity rather than a luxury. In its home-town form Maraş ice cream is so thick that it can be hung on a hook, or sliced with a knife and fork; visit the Yaşar Pastanesi in the city and you’ll be bombarded with photographs of assorted Turkish celebrities sitting down to do just.

Maraş ice cream was always too good to stay secret, and these days it’s on sale all over the country. The men who sell it make a virtue of dressing the Ottoman part with waistcoats, striped pinafores and fezes. As you walk past they’ll ping a bell and yell “Buyurun!”, the Turkish equivalent of “Roll up, roll up”. Should you succumb to their blanishments they’ll eventually hand you your cone, but only after they’ve gone through a lot of ritualistic singing and dancing to emphasise the point that this is no ordinary ice cream.

Nowadays international marketing means that Turkey has the same range of pre-packaged ice creams and ice lollies as anywhere else. The Kahramanmaraş-born Mado chain of ice cream shops (www.mado.com.tr) caters for those who like to mix and match their scoops (pistachio with melon, lemon with cherry), then sit down to enjoy them on the spot. There are branches iin most big towns.






Was ice-cream ever a part of early Turkish cuisine? Who knows? But one thing is for sure and that is that in parts of the country that receive plenty of snow (which means more than half of it), villagers would actually gather snow to eat straight, giving rise eventually to forms of “snow ice cream” that were really just impacted ice.


Aside from branches of Mado, great places to grab an ice cream where queues are guaranteed in summer include:


  • Dondurmacı Ali Usta (Moda Caddesi No. 266, Moda, Tel: 0216-414 18 80)
  • Mini Dondurma (Cevdetpasa Caddesi No. C 7, Bebek, Tel: 0212- 257 10 70)


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