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20
Feb

hannah-ice-cream-copy

I have a love/hate relationship with Beirut. I hate the traffic and how people drive. I hate all the towers sprouting right against the lovely old Ottoman houses or worse, going up where they once stood. And I hate the general feeling of lawlessness. Not that the city is dangerous. Far from it. Just completely unregulated. On the other hand, I love the sea and the fact that even in February, you can sit in a cafe or restaurant right by the water and not even feel a tinge of cold. But above all, I love Hanna and his sensational ice cream.

hannah-picking the pistachios copy


Hanna has been making ice cream single-handed for more than fifty years, in the same tiny space right next door to his equally tiny shop, using antiquated equipment that would horrify European health inspectors. His is a real mom and pop operation with his wife helping man the shop, pick the pistachios clean of any broken shells or other debris (as in the photo above) and so on. His children and grandchildren chip in when they can. The ice cream he makes is typical Arab ice cream, without any eggs or even cream. Some flavours such as the plain milk and pistachios are thickened with the finest salep (ground from dried orchis tubers) from Turkey whereas the fruit ones are made with real seasonal fruit. And in winter, he supplements the slow ice cream trade with the most delicious ma’mul (walnut or pistachio Easter cookies), qrass bil-tamr (date Easter cookie), sfuf (turmeric sponge cake) and nammurah (syrupy sponge cake).

There is something about Hanna that sets him apart, and that is his unabating passion for his work and his unquestionable commitment to the quality of both his ice cream and his other confections which he bakes in an oven that is almost as old as him.

hannah-oven copy


There is 30 comments on this post


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Shahaytina 3al bouza ๐Ÿ™‚

    Where’s the address of Hana? I would love to try his product.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    do you know dfouni? it’s near there in a street called mar metr i think. in any case, if you ask at dfouni, they will tell you. enjoy and let me know how you like it.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Hi Anissa

    lovely entry! I remember going into the local and ranting off: one chocola 7alib mowz fisto2 lowz fraise… hehehe it would cost a fortune if I were to get all these flavours in a gelato cone, let alone the uncertainty of the unreinforced structure. It is hard to find pure sahlab… most of the time the shops sell it already flavoured and that defeats the purpose. I’ve let my family know about hanna’s ice cream so they can try it!


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    I think that a mom/ pop business is absolutely lovely. So much better than these big box stores.
    The ice-cream looks amazingly refreshing. Now I have a craving for some.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    I miss that so much, I haven’t had bouza like that in 18 years since I left lebanon as a 12 year old. I hope I can be so lucky to be doing something I love when I’m that old!


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Looks sooo good


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    it is. sadly, i’ll have to stop having it next week as i will be on a diet. but i may not be able to resist.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    i don’t like arabic ice cream but the way you talked about Hanna ice cream… i really want to go and taste it again!


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    i’ll be curious to hear what you think. perhaps on the spot if we arrange to meet there.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Oh Anissa, Hanna is absolutely gorgeous! How old is the dear soul?


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    gosh, i don’t know. will ask him and will tell you.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    O dear, I see I’ve missed a lot by not visiting more frequently! This is all wonderful, especially the ‘bride’ which I shall try to make at the weekend. Would make a nice office lunch, though I should probably use a drier filling such as feta so that it doesn’t go soggy. Who would want a soggy bride?
    I’ll email you shortly about a tatsing at the end of March that I thought could be of interest to you.
    All the best


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    now i know his age. well, not exactly. i can’t remember if he said 83 or 81. in any case, he is just over 80.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    I chuckled when I saw your post on Hanna’s ice cream! This is where my dad goes every week to get his ice-cream fix. It is so cute, one time I was watching him and his wife hull the strawberries and toast the almonds; I noticed there is no sign, just a little piece of white paper with the prices in kilo written in arabic pasted with scotch tape on the window. I love Hanna’s! May he live a long life!


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    yes, as they say in arabic, allah ykhallilna yeh wa ykhalli la marto, wa wledo wa wled wledo, in other words lalkell…


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Very interesting and entertaining to read your blog ….from way over here in Canada. Lovely.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    I just want to lick the screen.. I miss this kind of ice cream so so much, it’s been years, maybe 22yrs or so. Is there any chance that you might be able to provide us with a recipe for one of the flavors at least, please please :). Thanks Anissa


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Hanna was my first “secret” beirut food find. Everything is fresh, when you ask for Mango in April, you’re reprimanded with a curt “ma fee manga” and then reminded of how fresh this ice cream is “il manga il ethiopieh ba3id ma nizlet.”

    PS The real name of the shop is on an old raggedy sign on the side “7alawiyat Al-Salam” or “Peace Desserts”

    I miss Beirut.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    thanks for the real name. i never noticed it. i wonder if the sign is still there. i’ll chec when i am next there. and you’re right, everything is super fresh there.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Going to beirut in May and can’t wait to try Hanna’s ice-cream. Thanks for the insight!


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Anissa I loved what u wrote, and jeddo Hanna had tears of joy when I showed it to him… Thank u!
    PS: The sign is still there ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    i am so happy you liked the blog. your jeddo hanna is a wonderful man and you should learn from him how to make the ice cream. sorry i never got round to visiting the hotel. next time. xx


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    wowww, I need the exact address please I will visit him for sure
    Thanks Anissa for your lovely web site ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    here is how i described where he is to a friend who posted an early comment: do you know dfouni? itโ€™s near there in a street called mar metr i think. in any case, if you ask at dfouni, they will tell you. enjoy and let me know how you like it. btw, dfouni is just up from sofil, going towards achrafiyeh.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Hi Anissa,
    thank you for all the tips about Aleppo, Beirut and Damasco.
    I’m going to try Hanna’s ice cream, Haji Abdo Foul Medamas and qatayf next week.
    I’ld like to give a try to Maria Gaspard Smara’s Muammara but I don’t know if it’s possible and where to go, also for a good alternative.
    Anyway, I’ll comeback with a feedback about this and more( I hope ๐Ÿ˜€ )
    Bye


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    my mum’s back in the village right now and ive asked her to go down and visit this place and get some more snaps. thanks for the heads up. food is my life! and it also seems like yours too. glad you are sharing it with the world.

    J


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    you are welcome jilbert. shame you can’t taste his ice cream. it’s so delicious.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    dear Anissa

    my name is Dana. i am photo editor of Afisha MIR, travel magazine based in Moscow/Russia. in our next issue one of our editors is going to write about Hanna Ice Cream and i need to illustrate the article.

    do you have more photos of the shop? (exterior, interior, ice cream, portraits of staff, etc.) or maybe you know somebody who have images?

    please reply to dana@afisha.ru.

    that’d be great if you could help me!

    kindest regards from Moscow,
    Dana


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    turkish ice cream much better than italians ice cream ( I ate the best restaurants in Rome ) and turkish foods too. I ate the best meal ever is turkish cuisine.
    Turkish cuisine is very very magnificent . You should try…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_cuisine


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    The shop provides a delicious experience that definitely is not heavy milk or cream ice cream. Nutmeat pulp, fruit sweetened glacier with great traditional flavors.

    I walked by this place almost daily for months without entering and saw the remarkable lineup of locals and their rectangular cones thinking it was some gimmick sorbet from the states shop, but the never ending popularity and car attendant registered doubt making it seem otherwise.

    After recognizing the telltale cone in a standard search for I love Beirut, I read about this and new which shop it was immediately.

    My stomach is not disappointed, my tastebuds are satisfied, and if world peace doesn’t happen tomorrow morning across the globe, there’s Hanna bachir.

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