Who doesn't know Oslo by now, the famous ice cream maker who took Lebanon by storm, offering one of the finest one-liter tubs found in the country. For the last decade or so, I have been waiting yearly for the summer season to indulge in some of Oslo’s fine ice cream creations. I, like many of us, have been intrigued over the origins of their name, and now they’ve opened their first shop, in Mar Mikhael, I had a chance to find out.
Born and raised in Beirut, Nayla Audi has always had a particular infatuation with the world of gastronomy. Naturally, but only after completing a degree in Political Science, she embarked on her chosen career in Los Angeles, California. There, since the early 90s, she created and distributed chocolate tarts to a diverse new wave of coffee shops that had popped up in the city, and witnessed the emergence of a new food movement in California. After spending some time in the kitchen of the restaurant ‘Patina’ in LA, she learned the art of ice cream making, which quickly grew to become her true passion. Upon returning to Beirut in 1997, Audi started her own ice cream company and named it ‘Oslo’. The brand prides itself on the use of only natural top-grade fruits and ingredients and makes more than 50 novel flavors of ice cream. These range from rose-loukoum, pistachio-halva and pomegranate, to coffee toffee crunch, chocolate chocolate chip and Oreo cookie.
In 2007 Nayla Audi opened MILK in Los Angeles, a breakfast, lunch and dinner eatery specializing in desserts and ice cream treats like bars, cones and sandwiches. MILK mainly uses produce that is grown locally and boasts a ‘MILK’ ice cream counter showcasing the various goodies that the brand carries. Nayla Audi's desire for fine food and eating well, urged her to create ‘OSLOW’ in 2010, a brand inspired by the Slow food Movement. ‘OSLOW’ identifies traditional foodstuffs from small Lebanese producers and gives them access to urban markets to encourage their survival. With the successful sustainability of her brands, Nayla Audi continues to work extensively between Beirut and Los Angeles, after having traveled the world in search for excellence, seeking the best in ingredients and taste.
I was welcomed to the shop, down in Mar Mikhael, by an ice cream fridge filled with the latest creations Oslo has become known for. A fine European style ice cream that's just perfect. How many times have I already expressed by love for this brand which produces, in my opinion, the best European style ice cream in town as well as the best chocolate ice cream you can ever taste? Just sweet enough, with perfect coloring, great texture and a superbly generous portion, Oslo ice creams are for a reasonable price of only 6,000L.L. Yes, only 6,000L.L, that's not only cheap, it’s also the finest quality. Every flavor is created independently and produced with love, passion and dedication. Trying the one liter tubs is something, but visiting Oslo's shop in Mar Mikhael is a different experience. If you're searching for the best ice cream this summer, at a great price, unique flavors and an experience that will put a smile on your face, Oslo is it.
Around the shop, covering the walls is a selection of cookies and cakes, one of which is the famous "Angel Food Cake". Angel Food Cake, is a type of sponge cake created in the United States that first became popular in the late 19th Century. It takes its name from its airy lightness that was said to be the "food of the angels".
This whole cake, which is available in eight different flavors - plain, chocolate, chocolate chip, blueberry, lemon, rose, red velvet, green tea, has only 870 Kcal in it. Yes, the complete cake for only 870Kcal. 25 cm in diameter and around 15 cm in height this cake has to be tried. Light and spongy, I chose to have the Red Velvet which has an intense red color and a fine texture. Do not expect to eat a chocolate cake or even a sponge cake or a marble one, the Angel Food cake is different and special. Prepare yourself for something new before judging. The first bite is bizarre, the second is enjoyable and the third starts to become addictive. A fluffy and airy cake with an interesting melty texture and an enjoyable aftertaste that makes you want to lick your lips after every bite. With that, comes a light cream cheese, preferably served cold. Together, the cream cheese and the cake make every bite unique. So, if you want to enjoy a guilt free cake, this one is the best choice.
Oslo carries a large selection of cookies, cakes and ice cream on their website Oslo Ice Cream for pre-order. I remember tasting amazing red velvet and chocolate cakes last summer, that day when I discovered that Oslo is not only an ice cream parlor but a fine pastry shop as well.