Monday, March 9, 2015

Goli: Persian Ice Cream Purveyors


My sister and I took our side project to new heights this weekend. Well, to be honest, it was mostly my sister's doing but I came along for the (literal) ride. In a bored end-of-February stupor last week, she decided to start a small-batch ice cream business that specializes in Persian ice cream. Persian ice cream (bastani), for the uninitiated, is saffron and rose water-flavored ice cream with cream chunks and pistachios. It’s somewhere in between the savoriness of maple bacon and chorizo flavors à la hip Brooklyn/Lower East Side ice cream shops and an artisan honey lavender-cardamom hybrid found in San Francisco’s Bi-Rite creamery. On the East Coast, its true version can really only be found on the dessert menus at Persian restaurants, but go to the Westwood section of Los Angeles (where the Persian diaspora is in full effect) and you’ll find ice cream stores that solely dole out scoops of bastani with wafers.

In order to bring quality scoop-and-serve bastani to New York, my sister found an ice cream maker for $40 on Craigslist, which we went to go pick up in Park Slope at 9 AM on Saturday morning. After a decidedly normal Craigslist interaction with a seller who had never tapped the urge to make cherry ice cream that had inspired her purchase, we took the new-with-tags ice cream maker to coffee and planned our next move, which involved us buying some super secret ingredients at a Middle Eastern specialty food store on Atlantic Avenue, so secret, in fact, that we couldn't translate the product label. Little known fact but Atlantic Avenue is ripe with Middle Eastern speciality stores -- highly recommend as the tahini there is cheaper than it is at Trader Joe’s and the Alphabet City Key Food (I’m adding tahini into my repertoire of breakfast spreads, FYI).

After too many hours in a nineteen-degrees Park Slope before noon, we decamped back to our parents’ apartment for quality lounge time and restarted the ice cream process the next day. Long story short we made a bomb-dot-com batch of Persian ice cream, which PRAY FOR US, will be available at Smorgasburg come this summer.

Check out the webbie here. Once you go Persian, there’s no other version. Am I right?

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