I scream for ice scream. You don't scream. I've already eaten your ice cream. You stand there and sob at the injustice of the universe. I am an ice cream nut. In any given scenario I'm probably an inch away from getting ice cream. Sad: Ice cream for solace. Happy: Ice cream for celebration. Angry: Ice cream catharsis. In the mood for Ice Cream: High Quality Ice Cream. You can imagine my delight then when I got the chance to visit Buza's Ice cream factory here in Israel.
When we got to the ice cream parlour, I was immediately given an affogato which may be one of the most wonderful things in the world. The holy union of two of the most wonderful things in the world: ice cream and coffee. Affogato is a shot of espresso poured over top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was delicious, creamy, and just the right thing to perk me up for what was to come. It was a delight hearing Adam talk about his time in Italy studying how to make great Gelato, ice cream made from milk and a little cream.
One of the things that many people underestimate about great ice cream, are the incredible variations and subtleties that make great ice cream. What you have in your local supermarket is like buying an already roasted chicken at the store. True it may taste good, even really good. But it's never going to be as good as the genuine article, or done nearly so well. I love Ben and Jerry's, who doesn't? I even had the good fortune to meet them at an event I volunteered at, and let them know in person. Their ice cream too, receives the same problem because of how it is consumed.
In stores, ice cream is kept for long periods of time in extremely cold temperatures, lending itself to not only crystallization, destroying the creaminess of your ice cream, but will also melt and refreeze to some degree during transportation. What I'm talking about happens when you pull your already opened ice cream out of your freezer at home, and notice that some of the ice cream is more like ice and harder around the edges. This makes for a less enjoyable desert and delight than if you have the genuine article, as fresh as possible from the source with little transportation and high quality ingredients. At Buza I was getting my supply straight from the source.
Ice cream is fun on it's own and it only gets better when you get to see it being made. As we watched Adam go through the process, the glass wall behind him showcased all of the glorious churners and burners that made our delicious tour possible. We watched Dulce De Leche Ice Cream being made and got to try the hot mix that would make the cold ice cream.
After equipping some extremely fashionable, and disposable, scrubs we went in to see everything. At Buza they keep the daily production small so that they can keep up the quality of the ice cream, but when we got to the tasting it felt like they made more than could ever be eaten. A vegan coconut ice cream that was delicious and light, a strange and interesting cookie ice cream was delightful, and of course, the all powerful chocolate caramel and sea salt. The ice cream was incredibly smooth and very rich in flavors like the chocolate caramel, but very relaxed and light in the vegan coconut. It was interesting to see the variations in different flavors all next to each other, and so fresh as well. With the ice cream so recently made. It was some of the softest ice cream i’ve ever had without being melted or softened by temperature. It was a wonderful time, and great for the kid inside and out.
Buza is the Arabic word for Ice cream. It's also the name of the chain of ice cream stores and ice cream that partners Adam Ziv and Alaa Sweitat have built and that I visited. In 2017 they even won the UN Flourish prize for For-Profit institutions. The prize is awarded to businesses that further UN goals such as decreasing poverty, bringing peace, or reducing human suffering. In the case of Adam and Alaa, an Arab and a Jew working together on something as delicious and delightful as ice cream stores. An Arab and a Jew working together so closely, especially in a business venture, is a rare sight in Israel. Buza has been going for 5 years now and has served thousands of cones of ice cream to happy Jewish and Arab kids. It’s one of the greatest examples that I’ve seen so far of there really are simple things that bring us together. The ties that bind us sometimes aren’t political, or social, or economic. They’re cold, creamy, and delicious in a cone or a cup.
It was a great time and I got to add it to my list of ice cream experiences. Now that I’m nearing the end of my time here in Israel I’m going to be doing a lot of writing about the more serious things that I’ve encountered in my travels. From body identification centers from genocides, to solving unsolvable wars and conflicts, to xenophobia and irrational hatreds. I’m going to be mixing in things like this as well though. The Bizarre, the silly, and the sweet that make the world interesting.