Dondurma, which means “freezing” in Turkish, has a distinct, chewy texture. Typically sold from pushcarts, vendors perform feats of pulling and stretching the dondurma to show off its elasticity. A must-visit is the legendary Mini Dondurma kiosk in Bebek, Istanbul, which stays open till 3am. Try the sour cherry and caramel.
The creamy kulfi is made in cone-shaped receptacles and flavoured with pistachios, saffron or rose water. Popular flavours are mango and cardamom. New Kulfi Centre in Mumbai serves the best kulfi, which is placed on a betel leaf and weighed before serving – a traditional practice.
3. Singapore & Malaysia
Potong, or “cut” in Malay, are blocks of ice cream made with coconut milk, fresh milk and sugar. Typically sold from motorised carts by street vendors, popular flavours include red bean, sweet corn and durian. Enjoy them popsicle style or sandwiched between wafers or bread slices.
Don’t be surprised to find savoury flavours like wasabi, eel and soya chicken at ice-cream shops in Namja Town, an amusement park in Tokyo. What’s in vogue now is mochi ice cream or sticky rice with an ice-cream filling, especially ones filled with matcha (green tea) and adzuki (red bean paste). A popular kiosk is Mochicream at Shinjuku train station.
The refreshingly light sorbet – made of whipped egg whites and no yolks – is a favourite, especially peach and apricot flavours. For a mind-boggling selection, join the queue at Fenocchio in Nice (below), which offers over 95 flavours including spiced bread and olive. Also popular is the ultra-rich French ice cream, which you can indulge in at Berthillon in Paris.
Italian gelato is softer, lighter, and has a lower fat content than regular ice cream. Fastidious Italians judge a gelateria by its fior di latte (which means “flower of the milk”), made with just milk, cream and sugar. Bologna’s celebrated Il Gelatauro is a good bet. Also quintessentially Italian is granita (below), crushed and flavoured ice flakes, that’s eaten sandwiched in a brioche or swirled into a ghiaccioli (popsicle).
– TEXT BY SUDI PIGOTT
PHOTOS: INSTAGRAM, 123RF.COM
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.