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Kaimaki ice cream

Kaimaki ice cream, a Greek favorite, white and chewy, made with milk, sugar, salep, and often mastic, enjoyed with cherry syrup or unique variations.

close-up of Greek ‘Kaimaki’ ice cream like vanilla ice cream with heights syrup on top

Kaimaki ice cream was one of the first kinds of ice cream to come in Greece during the 60’s and is one of the most popular tastes of ice cream in the country. White in color, it is made using milk, sugar, salep and milk cream. Mastic is also often used. Its chewy texture is due to the salep, which makes it sticky.

Salep can be found in spice shops and come from the bulb of a rare plant (Orchis Mascula) which is cultivated on the mountains of the Balkans and the Middle East, and is a species of wild orchid. Following collection, the bulbs are dried and then milled into flour. The term salep refers to this floured powder, but also to the beverage made from it.

Before serving kaimaki ice cream, it is removed from the freezer and set aside for about half an hour to soften. Before enjoying it, it can be drizzled over with cherry syrup.

There is also the version that the refugees from Istanbul brought with them using mastic and mahlab, with unique, aromatic results.

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