- Gulf News is going on an ice cream trail this Ramadan.
- Our 27th pick of the month are the different unique flavours of ice cream available in the UAE.
- Be prepared for our list of 29 ice creams for 29 days.
- End your fast and enjoy the Summer months with these sweet and cold treats.
Today, when you go to an ice cream parlour you are bombarded with options. Gone are the days when you had only a few flavours to choose from. With society evolving, comes a shift in wants and tastes. Ice creams have modified themselves with the changing tastes of people, and now you have almost 20 different flavours to choose from at any given time when you visit an ice cream parlour.
#27 Different ice cream flavours
US- based food-culture magazine, First We Feast, uses historical gastronomist Sarah Lohman’s book Eight Flavours: the Untold Story of American Cuisine to discuss ice cream flavours, which can be traced to two foundational iterations: “The ancient Eastern sherbati, originating in Iran and the custard ice cream of the West, which is similar to what we eat today”.
Lohman pointed out that sherbati is like shaved ice and is flavoured with syrups. Popular ones include orange, blossom, rosewater and jasmine. It was only after the spice trade that fruit flavours began to make an appearance in ice creams.
According to US-based online website foodprocessing.com, ice cream is continuing to get a “makeover” as manufacturers keep changing flavours and combinations, to meet the needs of the consumer.
According to a survey conducted by International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the top five flavours popular in the US are vanilla, chocolate, cookies ‘n’ cream, mint chocolate chip and chocolate cookie dough.
The article stated: “Today’s innovative ice cream makers are giving many of these traditional flavours creative spins…. This includes offering them blended or with other flavours.” The 2018 article stated, “Vanilla continues to reign as America’s favourite ice cream”.
Do UAE residents like to try different ice cream flavours?
Client representative for a real estate group, Adel Daud said he loves trying new flavours of ice cream as it helps him get access to different cultures and tastes.
The 33-year-old said: “I like trying traditional Indian flavours. In many ways, food bridges the gap between cultures and helps bring people together. Variety and change is always great.”
Canadian national Nabeel M. Ghyas said: I recently tried date-flavoured ice cream at someone’s house and I didn’t like it. I personally think fruit and ice cream make a very odd combination. I prefer sticking to the basics.”
The 35-year-old civil engineer added: “I do however find the kunafa flavoured ice cream intriguing. I have not tried it but would love to.”
Flavours in the UAE
While ice cream parlours in the UAE offer traditional flavours like chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, cookies ‘n’ cream and more, customers also have a variety of not-so-traditional ice cream flavours to pick from.
At iScream in Dubai, customers can choose flavours like ketchup, curry, tabbouleh, popcorn, Emirati coffee, wasabi and more. They taste like a creamier version of the actual item. Why were such flavours created?
According to managing partner Rami Halawi: “We created these flavours because we wanted to cater to the cultures of the UAE. Everyone can do normal flavours like chocolate, vanilla and more, but what counts is creativity.” A scoop of ice cream at the store is Dh16. Karak ice cream can also be found at 3.fils restaurant in Dubai.
During the month of Ramadan, many ice cream shops in the UAE have introduced flavours to cater to the traditions and flavours of Arabic culture. At Jelly Belly, customers can find flavours including kunafa and mouhalabieh (traditionally, it is a rice pudding).
According to a spokesperson from Jelly Belly, the kunafa ice cream is made with real cheese and perfumed with rose and orange blossom water, with cubes of “artisanal kunafa”. The mohalabieh flavour is made from mastic and perfumed with rose and orange water.
They also have an Amar Al Deen sorbet, which is made with the popular syrup, Amar Al Deen. While these flavours are limited to the month of Ramada, other Arabic flavours available are Omani Halwa at Ice Cream Lab in Dubai Mall; and baklava and date ice cream at Nouq (available in supermarkets in the UAE).
Fruit flavours are also very popular in the UAE. At Flavours Ice Cream in Dubai, customers can get custard apple ice cream and a tender coconut flavour. The custard apple, known as ‘sitaphal’ in India, is made from the pulp of the fruit to give it a natural taste. The coconut ice cream is made from coconut ‘malai’, also known as the soft flesh of the coconut. Coconut malai is a good source of energy, vitamins and is refreshing in the summer months.
The restaurant owners told Gulf News: “These flavours are common to the Indian market. They are seasonal flavours. We have flavours like lemon grass, fig and more. We found that these flavours were not popular in the UAE. We analysed the gap that existed in the market and thought of adding these flavours to the menu.” A scoop of ice cream at Flavours Ice Cream is Dh7.
Another place that does fruit flavours is Tru Frut Natural Ice cream. They have options like passion fruit, lychee and mango, dates and fig (Anjeer in India). A single scoop here is Dh10. Jam Rolled (Dh25) ice cream also has fruit options and customers can prepare their fruit flavours by mixing pieces of fruit with a vanilla or chocolate milk base.
Another flavour that has become popular on social media is the Cookie Monster ice cream flavour. This blue coloured ice cream can be found in many parlors, including The Inventing Room and Unicorn Vibes. According to operations manager at Unicorn Vibes, Nadia Khalid, and the ice cream is made from “blue cream, cookies and an Oreo mix.” At The Inventing room, the ice cream is made from a blue vanilla and milk mix and liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the ice cream.
Peshawari ice cream, popular in Pakistan, is another flavour to try. It started with three brothers Bacha Khan, Faissal Rehman and Mir Zaman. They learnt the art of concocting milk and cream with spatulas from their Hindu neighbour, amidst the chaos of the 1947 partition of India.
It is made of cream, milk and sugar. According to reports, it was sweeter than yogurt, but not as rich as pure vanilla. Peshawari ice cream is popular in Pakistan and is available at Billo café.
Where: iScream and Jelly Belly at La Mer Dubai. Jelly Belly has outlets around the UAE. Flavours Ice Cream is at Bur Dubai. Billo Cafe is at Oud Metha.
Have you tried any of these ice cream flavours? Are you a fan of regular flavoured ice cream or do you like experimenting with flavours. Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org.