April 19, 2014 Mount Lebanon Lebanon Middle East

Azrak Ice Cream: Famous and Now Open for Summer

People come to enjoy Azrak's unique pastries and ice cream… Driving the distance from Beirut to the beautiful hills of Baabdat in Al Metn is not a problem. They are so popular that a street in Baabdat was named after them... Riri and Robert, the Azrak brothers, have followed their family's footsteps to create ice cream and sweets, using the best and most natural ingredients, loved and devoured by many.
 
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Goffril Azrak started his ice cream and pastry business with a shop in 1935 in Aleppo/Syria before moving to Beirut in 1948 to take a premium location in the area of Kantari, Beirut. Afterwards, three shops opened in Beirut, one in Hamra, Kantari and another in Badaro until the Lebanese war broke out in 1975 forcing them to close down. The decision to move to Baabdat was a good choice. The brothers started working on the land, planting their own fruits, then started making their own pastries and ice cream later on. Azrak is known to offer three things: Pate d'amande, conventional pastry pieces and ice cream Robert, the elder brother left the country and studied the art of pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. He spent years after training in esteemed places like Le Notre, Fauchon, Le Pot Au Feu and many others. Afterwards the Azrak's opened their Pastry shop and bakery on 56 Rue Vaneau in the French capital, which they decided to close in 2009.

After 24 years in the French capital, Robert decided to come back home to open their shop in Lebanon.
 
Riri, Robert's brother, on another hand, never left the country but continued reproducing the same recipes passed on from his father.
 
Azrak opens in April and closes in September every year. You can enjoy Azrak's ice cream six months a year...
 
Azrak_Ice_Cream_Baabdat01
 
The Baabdat shop: 
  • The shop is simple and very humble. You feel like you are visiting the Azrak brothers in their own house
  • A small square all painted in white
  • The right wall is covered with customers' children drawings , the same goes for the wall over the entrance
  • The ice cream fridge is to the left, next to the rustic old cashier
  • Look out for their Coca-Cola collection of bottles; they almost have all the special and limited edition bottles
This summer's Pastry collection:
  • Chocolat cake
  • Baba au Rum
  • Succes chocolat
  • Eclair chocolat
  • Brioche
  • Chocolate buns: Every Sunday
  • Fondant au chocolat
  • Lemon tart
  • Erisson chocolat
  • Tarts: peach, pears, fig, pineapple, Pecan, strawberries, apple (everything they have in their garden)
  • Sables
"Why are you famous," I ask. With full confidence, the brothers answered: "We are known for using only premium and fresh ingredients. We don't use any synthetic products or artificial flavoring, only real ingredients and fresh milk delivered every week by Candia." Azrak_Ice_Cream_Baabdat06
Ice cream flavors:
  • Banana
  • Milk
  • Pistachio
  • Lemon
  • Rose
  • Almond
  • Vanilla
  • Cinnamon
  • Pecan nuts
  • Rum raisin
  • Etaincelle (milk and chocolate)
  • Strawberries
  • Mure
  • Tutti-fruity
  • Apricot with pine nuts
  • Mango
  • Amareddine
  • Smarties
  • Musk
  • Praline
Azrak_Ice_Cream_Baabdat30
Let's taste some Ice cream:
  • The Lemon Sorbet ice cream is fresh and light, created without milk and without eggs. You feel its intense lemony zest and freshness. It's addictive
  • The Chocolate ice cream is made using premium quality Valrhona. This ice cream has been produced to please the widest number of people, especially the little ones. I think it's a bit too milky and surely too sweet for me, but nevertheless unique in quality and taste.
  • Milk is milk flavored and not vanilla. Fresh milk from our local farms delivered directly by Candia farms to produce this flavor.
  • Almonds and Pistachio flavors are rich in flavor with an enjoyable crunchy feel. I enjoyed their taste and texture.
  • Praline: One of my favorites at Azrak. Sticky caramel, crunchy nuts and an interesting sugar burning aroma that makes all the difference
  • Banana and Pineapple ice cream are both so fresh and so natural. You will enjoy a strong fruity taste with a creamy feel and beautiful texture but unfortunately they are way too much sugar in there. It spoils the enjoyment. Less sugar is definitely better.
  • Rose: This was my favorite at Azrak
  • Rum raisin: A must try for sure. Richly alcoholic Negrita rum ice cream with soft raisins is a signature flavor worth driving all the way up to Baabdat for.
Azrak_Ice_Cream_Baabdat31
 
Azrak's ice cream is fresh, tasty and surely natural in flavor. I would tone down on the sugar though. The natural ingredients used are tasty enough and should not be masked by the sugar. I have been touring around various ice cream parlors in town and I second people's fascination towards this place.  It is indeed one of the best places in town.
 
Address: Azrak street, next to the Total gas station, just a few meters after the Baabdat roundabout
 



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been there? what was your impression? (5.14/10)

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