The family behind the shop in Ramallah is opening a store known as Booza (the Arabic word for ice cream).
The shop was opened in 1941 as a café at the same location where it stands. However, operations started earlier. The operations date back to the 1930s when Sarah Rukab, the family matriarch prepared the product at home after the sudden demise of her husband in 1932. Her sons would then sell her creations after school. The business slowly grew into a shop which is still in the same spot in Ramallah.
Open late into the night, the landmark shop has established itself as the best spot to have homemade dondurma, a Turkish-style ice cream in Palestine. Israelis even sneak into Palestine to eat there. The product is made with a variety of ingredients to make it elastic and give it slower melting times. The ingredients that add elasticity to the cream are salep (from the root of a wild orchid) and mastic, a resin extracted from the Pistacia lentiscus tree. The hardened droplets of resin also give the ice cream its unique flavour. These two traditional ingredients are mixed with fatty cream, fresh milk, powdered milk, dextrose, and sugar to form the chewy, gummy ice cream.
Now Fadi “Chris” Rukab and Jimmy Rukab, the grandsons of Sarah who double up as the current owners of the ice cream parlour are bringing the family recipe to Houston. The Palestinian café will make tasty ice cream with a variety of flavours including strawberry, banana, lemon, pineapple, chocolate, and pistachio. Booza, the Houston shop, will also sell sherbet, gelato and other icy desserts in upwards of 20 to 25 flavours.
The Palestinian ice cream vendor has already shipped in a cream making-machine from Italy and what remains is a licence from the city. Rukab is set to open Booza on March 1 at 5922 Richmond Avenue in Woodlake/Briar Meadow.
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