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Always wished you could savor your ice cream slowly, without the treat turning into a sticky, melted mess? Then you may want to stop by the Republic of Booza in Brooklyn, New York, for a scoop or two of booza — a stretchy, taffy-like ice-cream that not only lasts longer but is also best consumed twirled around a fork!
The creamy frozen treat's origin can be traced back over 500 years to the Eastern Mediterranean's Levant region, which includes modern-day Palestine, Israel, and Syria. Like most ice creams, Booza comprises three basic ingredients — milk, cream, and sugar. However, instead of eggs to enhance creaminess and increase the ice cream's stability, the ancient recipe uses the sap from the mastic tree. Cornstarch, which acts as a thickener in most conventional recipes, is replaced by ground orchid root, or sahlab. Also, instead of churning the concoction slowly to remove air, the mix is pounded with a wooden mallet and then pulled, stretched, and twirled around like pizza dough.
The result is a frozen treat which extends out like mozzarella cheese and is smoother and creamier than most other ice creams. Also, unlike regular ice creams that are best between -4°F (-20°Ç) and 5°F (-15°C), booza remains stable at 12°F (-11°C) to 15°F (-9°C). According to the company's website, this allows the treat to be served at temperatures that bring out its full flavor and intensity.
Traditional Booza comes in just one flavor — qashta, or "candied cream." Similar to the fior di latte ice cream in Italy, it is made using only high-quality milk and cream, with no flavors added. While the Republic of Booza does serve the original flavor, its founders have added numerous others to the list. Customers can now choose from "classic flavors" such as vanilla and chocolate, "global favorites" like key lime pie and mango tajin sorbet, and the constantly changing line up of "experimental flavors," which currently include salted Oreo and watermelon feta.
“We all had in the back of our minds that booza was an incredible form of ice cream with untapped potential,” says company co-founder Michael Sadler. “We saw that we could use it as a vehicle for all sorts of flavors from all over the world.” Judging from the long lines that have been forming outside the store since it opened in 2018, booza fans seem to agree. Hopefully, the company will bring the unique ice cream to other parts of the country as well.