Jewels and Yassi
Daisy and I were finally rescued from the four walls threatening to close in on us, when my friend Yassi kindly kidnapped, or more accurately, “woman and dognapped” us to Mashti Malone on Sunday. I must have looked quite a sight getting into her little silver Volkswagen Beatle with crutches, boot, and Daisy sitting dead weight in my arms (she is terrified of cars); but off we went on our little culinary adventure.

I read in the brochure that thirty years ago “Mashti Shirvani, a student at the time, found an abandoned ice cream parlor called Mugsy Malone. He spent all the money he had on the lease and the equipment inside the store. There wasn’t enough money left to change the entire sign, so he only changed half of it. Mugsy Malone became Mashti Malone.” My first hint of what a charming story-teller the owner happens to be.

saffron rosewater pistachio ice cream

Saffron Rosewater with Pistachio Ice Cream
Did you know sorbet and ice cream originated in Iran? Rather than very sweet chocolate, vanilla, or bubblegum (all of which they do offer as well) there were flavors I’d never seen before. My eyes lit up as I struggled to fathom Creamy Rosewater, Cherry Faloudeh, Herbal Snow, Lavender, and Orange Blossom. This is when it pays to be the girl with a broken ankle on crutches… Mashti began giving me tasting spoons of everything while my taste buds sparked in delight. Even though I felt like a kid let loose in the proverbial candy store, this was most definitely ice cream made for grown-ups. I eventually settled on the Saffron Rosewater with Pistachio while Yassi had the Faloudeh (rose granita with rice starch noodles running through it) with lemon juice.

Faloudeh with Lemon Juice
While a very well-behaved Daisy sat quietly at our feet (relieved to be out of the house and the car), the combination of exotic flavors and flowing conversation took me on a little mini-vacation to Iran. I’d always imagined it to be all desert, but I could almost see the plush, green abundance of flowers, herbs, fruits, and all kinds of food described as they spoke about their homeland. Easily imagining Mashti’s purple fingers as he spoke of picking blackberries for his father who dyed the silk stands used in Persian rugs, or how the men would cut huge chunks of the snow off the mountains, carefully wrapped to preserve it for making ice cream. Yassi sitting in the snow as a child, turning the machine that made the ice fine enough to pour the raw milk over, and how food always had a purpose beyond sustenance. A reverence for the medicinal benefits of the herbs and spices playing a major role in the development of a recipe.

Enjoying ice cream with my niece last summer

I instinctively picked the right flavor for what ails me! Did you know that rosewater is used in aromatherapy as an antidepressant, saffron is considered a pain reliever and an aphrodisiac, while pistachios contain 35% of essential fatty acids? The combination of all natural, organic ingredients and a reasonable portion size made it feel pretty guilt free too.

It was an intriguing glimpse into a far away land, and an enchanted escape from the frustrations and boredom of being trapped, home alone, with a broken ankle. Thank you very much for the mini vacation dear friend!

I just saw this Strawberry Basil Italian Ice recipe that looks pretty yummy on Petit Chef this morning. What is the most exotic flavor ice cream you’ve tried?
PS. Check out the piece I wrote about my friendship with Keith Haring at the Keith Haring Foundation.
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  • June 8, 2010
    5:14 pm

    Jewels, I'm not sure about exotic, but my favorite most unusual ice cream flavor I've tried is pumpkin pie ice cream, which I now make at home (since I've only seen it one place — at an ice cream parlor in Memphis). It was just so awesome, words can't quite describe it. To make at home, you just prepare pumpkin pie filling, then cook over a double boiler, let it cool and put it in an ice cream maker. Awesome.My daughter likes play doh ice cream which looks and even smells like play doh. Ew.

  • June 8, 2010
    6:24 pm

    Sneaking the saffron into hubby's food as I write this…Jodi Silverman Zulueta

  • June 8, 2010
    6:25 pm

    always loving your yummy posts …Manuela Salvade

  • June 8, 2010
    6:27 pm

    I'd have to say play doh has to be the most inventive ice cream Kimberly. How cute, she has an adventurous palate, and the pumpkin pie ice cream sounds divine for the holidays!Jodi you crack me up… deep belly laughs are heading your way. Thank you Manuela, so happy you like reading them.

  • June 8, 2010
    6:32 pm

    Thanks for another nice and yummy post :)MariFer Cruz Ortega

  • June 8, 2010
    10:10 pm

    My sense of humor usually gets me into trouble, lol! Now if you can tell me what ingredient fixes foot in mouth disease I'll be set!Jodi Silverman Zulueta

  • June 8, 2010
    10:11 pm

    I never tasted any of the flavors you listed in the blog…I would love to!I have only to search an ice cream parlour that makes ice creams like that and I think I won't find it so easilyMartina D' Epifanio

  • June 8, 2010
    11:12 pm

    Daisy was one brave little pup 🙂 That ice cream sounds so good , perfect combo of sweet and svory.I don't know if this is exotic. I tried garlic ice cream before. It was a mild almost sweet taste. you will need an Altoid though.

  • June 9, 2010
    4:41 am

    Sounds like the perfect mini vacation! I'm not able to eat it but have a cute story about ice cream. Years ago, as I was walking home from work, I stopped in a little variety store near my apartment to pick up a few things. A lovely Korean family owned the store and it was the husband's shift this evening. As I entered the store he rushed past me to the freezer section and looked through his selection of flavours of ice cream. He picked up a carton of Neopolitan and ran up to me saying "Neopolitan, strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, yes?" I confirmed that he had it correct and he ran to the counter, picked up the telephone and told his caller, "yes, we have Neopolitan". I chuckled to myself as I picked up the items I had stopped in for and thought of how this hard working man went the extra mile for his customers. I moved a few months later and haven't been back to the old neighbourhood in almost 18 years. I have to wonder if the same family owns the little store.Hope your little vacation gave you a well needed breather from being housebound. Daisy as well! Sending you healing thoughts and warm wishes that you heal quickly.

  • June 9, 2010
    10:08 am

    Not sure about exotic, but Malta certainly had the biggest selection od flavours I had ever seen back in the early 90's.If you want to see what the middle east looks like for real, may I suggest you catch a programme called "In The Footsteps of Alexander the Great" by Michael Wood – a truly fascinating following through amazing landscapes.Also, "Forever Summer" by Nigella Lawson has some great recipes featuring exotic spices and unusual salad combinations.Stay positive and radiant as ever! :)Sending a big scruffffff to Daisy….

  • June 9, 2010
    5:17 pm

    Now you just have to get them to do Strawberry Lavendar and you'll be right!!Justine Owls

  • June 9, 2010
    5:24 pm

    Thanks JT… I'll check them out for sure. SInce my wings got clipped I have to limit my vacations to imagination.He is such a nice man Justine, I'll bet he would do a strawberry lavender for me. Good idea. BTW, really weird looking at a pic of my ex when you send messages… why don't you have a pic of you? It's nice to know who you are really communicating with.Hmmmmm, garlic ice cream certainly sounds interesting Tracey. Gael Greene tweeted me about breakfast in New York where she had eggs with bacon ice cream… I'd love to try that, but then I always liked my bacon drenched in maple syrup from my pancakes, so I'm already there with the salty-sweet thing.

  • June 9, 2010
    7:53 pm

    One of the most interesting flavors of gelato I have had is mascarpone and fig. Not ice cream of course but close. It was insanely decadent! 🙂

  • June 9, 2010
    8:02 pm

    One of the most interesting flavors of gelato I have had is mascarpone and fig. Not ice cream of course but close. It was insanely decadent! 🙂

  • June 10, 2010
    2:46 am

    As much as I love ice-cream,I cannot say that I have taken that step and had one with an unusual or exotic flavour. I do love mango ice-cream and one of my favourite Italian ice-cream parlours here in Melbourne OZ make the best ice-cream ever. Their Mango one is to die for and their Pistachio one is just as good. It's amazing how even though it is winter here and so, so cold, people will still venture out to this parlour and indulge.Aussie Mum

  • June 10, 2010
    1:39 pm

    I tasted a wonderful myrtle flavour ice cream in Porto Aranci, Sardinia:-)Get well soon:-)Carmen

  • June 11, 2010
    12:27 am

    I think my dream job would be working for Baskin Robbins developing new flavors… the sky is the limit these days. It would be so much fun!

  • June 11, 2010
    1:41 am

    ….I can just imagine that those flavours you would come up with at Baskin & Robbins would be amazing. You are so creative that anything you do would be sensational. I would certainly want to try them……count me in on that dream!Aussie Mum

  • June 14, 2010
    5:09 pm

    All that I see is " pistachio ice cream", yum one of my favorites. You wanna talk great flavors of a desert, if you ever come to Portland, you HAVE to stop in at Voodoo Donuts and try their crazy delicious donuts. you name it they probably have it even bacon maple donuts (to die for)