June 21, 2014 Keserwan Lebanon Middle East

Helado: Knefe, Whisky, Figs... Innovative Ice Cream Flavors

In the past, I’ve recommended 14 places for their ice cream and yes, unfortunately, I have maybe forgotten the most important one; Helado.

After publishing my recommended list of ice cream parlors, I've received dozens of messages and emails asking me how could I have missed a place in Sahel Alma called Helado. As the foodies said, Helado is "the" place not to be missed, the next big thing, the innovator of unique ice cream flavors... And yes, all were right. Coming back from Batroun on a Sunday afternoon, I decided to take the Sahel Alma inner road where Helado is located. What's amazing is that this place is hidden from the main road and doesn't have a parking space in front of it, yet it’s extremely busy all day long. Park your car down the road and walk 30 meters up the street leading to an individual house where Helado welcomes you. Two men, welcoming and smiling, and most importantly, generous, take the time to address everyone's demand. Busy or not, a line of a dozen customers waiting or just a single one, the service is great. I was offered 3 scoops to taste before moving on to walk away with a full cup to enjoy. Every customer is treated as a king.

The first impression was awesome: I was amazed by the colors filling the fridge, as well as the texture of the ice cream, not shiny with water, and not creamy. A beautiful-looking ice cream that's waiting to be enjoyed in style.

In here, cups are different form the carton ones we know, but are plastic, transparent and look like a cocktail container with a stand. Each is generously filled to top... for only LBP4,000. A green chalk board displays the prices of the ice cream occupying three large freezers of which one contains ready made boxes. LBP16,000 the kilo, LBP4,500 for the chocolat mou, LBP3000 for the lemonade... Some of the flavors I recall seeing are Knefe, Biscuit w Ra7a, strawberries and banana, whisky, Oreo, lemonade, vanilla, milk with mistki, figs, lotus biscuit, and croquant, while a dozen others where skipped due to the rush.

It was a quick tasting while a dozen people were waiting to be served and I didn't even have time to take decent photos. Anyway, I was amazed by the taste of this ice cream, by its colors and innovative flavors. The best part was that it didn’t melt easily.

Today's tasting:
  • Knefe: Yes, Knefe in an ice cream. A rich vanilla ice cream that's just perfect, created in layers with crushed kaak and sesame seeds. The mix of biscuits and sesame seeds is left as is, not soaked and not watery, giving the Knefe feel you expect. It will leave you speechless!  Adequately sweet, with a perfect texture, this ice cream is not to be missed.
  • Lotus: The Speculoos biscuit ice cream better known as “Lotus” is like a frozen copy of this famous biscuit. It's just it: Excellent. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom, white pepper and spices are felt in every bite.
  • Figs: Ouf! Breathtaking! If you're a fan of fig jam, this is "the" ice cream of choice. A rich ice cream filled with real bits of figs from the village. What a journey!
  • Vanilla: Other than the normal white milk ice cream, the vanilla has a yellowish color. A vanilla specially imported from Italy to satisfy your senses.
  • Milk: Milk, how easy it might seem and how hard it is to get right. Milk ice cream can turn out to be too creamy or too sweet. Helado's is real fresh milk mixed with mistki giving it an elastic sensation.
  • Oreo: Bits of Oreo biscuits, a beautiful color, a great taste, an enjoyable mix and passion in every bite. I really am not finding the words to describe it
  • Biscuit and raha: The name says it all and it's awesome! Ghandour biscuits and Turkish delights in an ice cream? You must taste it to believe it. It's like eating those biscuit sandwiches in their cold version.
  • Strawberry and bananas cocktail: Yes, like a cocktail "che2af". A light pink color embracing a mix of bananas and strawberry; a perfect mix that will make you moan.
  • Whisky: When I thought that I have seen it all, I was offered a whisky ice cream. In the side fridge, a special ice cream is hidden, maybe given to the connoisseurs only. A whisky ice cream? I said to myself! Helado uses Grants, a famous whisky, and transforms it into an extravagant innovation that tastes of whisky and even smells it. This one has a pure white color that hides some love.
  • Almonds: Croquant of fresh almonds... Exquisite.
I feel like my descriptions are not making sense, it's like if I was visiting Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Amazement, awe, excitement... Yes, you will be feeling the same... Prepare yourself for the experience. How can someone so humble create something that amazing? Helado has done it. Bravo, bravo, bravo... I'll be back very soon for a more detailed review and maybe an interview with the owners.





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