It’s the ultimate treat for making us feel better, and Omanis love their ice cream. Team Y finds some of the best outlets around dedicated to delivering the dessert we just can’t get enough of.
We like all things Italian at Y. That’s why we chose the Fiat 500 for this week’s motoring page, and why we’re honing in on one of that great nation’s gifts to the world – gelato, or as we know it, ice cream.
If there’s one thing we can all agree on; it’s that Oman loves its ice cream – be it a regal scoop of vanilla or a more elaborate banana split that’s splashed on with your favourite flavour.
And whether we pin it on those long and hot summers or on your sweet tooth, there’s no escaping its calorific clutches and its close buddy – love handles – that it shamefully brings along.
Though, with a new breed of ice cream vendors having set up shop in Muscat; ready to carve out a scoop of your choice, we head out to the streets for a taste test to find out who does it better, and more importantly, if the ice cream tastes better than it looks on that blogger’s Instagram.
* Photos courtesy: Shutterstock and Instagram
With great power comes even greater responsibility – and as one of the largest homegrown hospitality chains in the Sultanate, Tropical Juices & Ice Cream delivers the goods. Their ice cream is prepped in-house and flavoured to bring local palates to life. Their flavours range from Omani Halwa, which is a modern take on the traditional Omani pudding; to elaborate ones such as anjeer and pistachio, both staples in South Asian countries. There are plenty of other options too – and you can grab a fresh cone or blend from one of their outlets in Muscat or place an order on Talabat.
Must-try flavours: Omani halwa, Anjeer, pistachio, Mango
Location: Al Khuwair, Seeb Suq, Seeb, 18th November street, Ghala
This funky-looking eatery takes us back in time to when spending time at an ice cream parlour was a cool affair. Animated with colourful Arabic cartoon characters, the walls bring to life the joys of heading out to a store with your close ones for a large dollop of ice cream. That said, the walls only tell half the story. Peek into the menu and you’ll notice local Omani and South Asian blends such as saffron kulfi, meetha pan, and Omani frankincense (!) If ice lollies are your thing, you can also opt for laban with zatar, Vimto, or a blueberry one to take along on a hot day.
Must-try flavours: Omani frankincense, Omani halwa, meetha pan
Introducing Dip N Dip to a face-off between the top ice cream parlours in Oman is like a karate black-belt entering the ring. But, this eatery doesn’t do ice creams like the rest: they create masterpieces out of simple ingredients. For instance, while their selection stops with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry; what they create with them is truly a testament to their creativity. While it remains pricier than the former two, the parlour does offer larger portions of their desserts. Some of their signatures include the crispy chocolate ice cream, ice cream brownie sundae, and the oven-baked cookie and ice cream.
Must-try desserts: fettuccine crepe, Dip N Dip speculaas n cookies oven baked, Alaskan waffle, rock star jar.
Location: Oman Avenues Mall, Al Muzn Mall, Salalah Garden Mall
If you’re in the mood to serve up some home delights, give this flavour a try:
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
• 400g of fresh figs quartered
• 2 tbsp of brown sugar
• 1 tbsp of honey
• 2 cups of full cream milk
• 2 cups of heavy cream
• 1 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped/Vanilla essence
• 6 large egg yolks
• 3/4 cup of sugar
• Place the milk, cream, vanilla bean and seeds in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. While the mixture is heating, combine the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with a whisk attachment.
• Whisk until the mixture is lightly thickened and then gradually add the milk mixture into the egg yolks. Do this slowly so as not to curdle the eggs.
• Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and return to a medium low heat and stir and check the consistency by turning the spoon over and running your finger through the mixture that has coated the spoon. If the line from your finger remains clear then the custard is ready. Pour the custard into a large bowl and cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
• Preheat the oven to 200-degrees-Celsius and line a roasting pan with baking paper. Combine the figs, honey and brown sugar in a bowl and then spread the mixture evenly over the roasting pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until caramelized, and set aside to cool.
• Once the figs have cooled down, place into a food processor and process.
• Prepare the ice cream maker. Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve and discard the vanilla bean pod and pour into the ice cream maker and chill as per your manufacturer’s instructions.
• When the ice cream is almost done, add the pureed figs and allow them to mix through. When finished pack into a large freezer safe container and cover and freeze for four hours before serving.
(Source: Delicious Everyday)