mado kesme icecream

The Turkish like their desserts, and while not traditionally ice-cream season, it was not difficult to find in Istanbul. What differentiates Turkish ice-cream from its gelato and regular ice-cream brethren is its chewiness and thickness, courtesy of salep and mastic gum that gives it is texture. The kesme dondurma at Mado, a popular ice-cream chain in Istanbul (we counted 4 in one afternoon, 2 in the very quaint seaside village of Ortakoy) is so hard that metal cutlery were needed to chip away at the ice cream blocks. The uber-elastic ice-cream had a consistency akin to thick caramel and we chewed away for the first few seconds as the seemingly heat-resistant treat yielded and melted in our mouths. Besides the velvet texture, the flavors were also intense, particularly the earthy, almost savory nut flavors such as walnut, pistachio and hazelnut.  For some reason though, vanilla does not taste like vanilla both times we tried, so the white colored ice-cream flavor might just be lost in translation somewhere between the ice-cream counter and our mouths. Besides ice-cream, the small intensely sweet turkish pastries were also out in full force at Mado, and judging from our one pistachio pastry, just as good.

Mado Dondurma (multiple locations in Istanbul and other Turkish cities)