This Palestinian dairy has some of the hardest to find types of cheese, ice cream, and ghee.

Two and a half years ago, Fidaa and Anan Zaqa made a lifelong dream come true by opening a dairy shop. By chance they found an empty spot in a Mississauga mall, hidden out of sight on a bustling Cawthra Road.

Inside, there is an ice cream freezer where the Zaqas prepare fresh batches of “Arabian style” ice cream. Think of your favorite scoop of vanilla ice cream but with an impossible stretch and stretch that rivals a champion cheese jerk. The elastic quality comes from the use of two thickening agents: putty, a vegetable resin, and sahlab, an orchid powder.

“This is how ice cream has been made for centuries, rarely seen here,” Anan said.

Nablus Creamery serves customers ice cream with two thickening agents: putty, a vegetable resin, and sahlab, an orchid powder.
At Nablus Creamery, in addition to scoops of ice cream, they also sell a log of ice cream in the shape of a Swiss roll covered in pistachios.

You will often find it in Beirut, where it is called booza, or in old Turkish street markets like dondurma. In the GTA, it is a rarity. “Ice cream is not really our main focus, but it allows us to connect with our community through nostalgia,” Anan said. TO Nablus dairyIn addition to scoops of ice cream, they also sell a Swiss ice cream roll covered in pistachios.

Fidaa and Anan are from neighboring cities in the West Bank – Jenin and Nablus – and they met at the University of Damascus. Fidaa was studying agricultural engineering while Anan was in food science and technology. The couple moved to Canada in 2008 to start a family, and Anan worked in the quality and assurance department of airline catering kitchens.

“I inspected suppliers, I tried menus. I opened some of the first Halal certified catering kitchens in the country, ”Anan said.

Fidaa, right, and Anan Zaqa made a lifelong dream come true by opening a dairy, Nablus Creamery, two and a half years ago.

Mississauga is home to a large Palestinian population; in fact, Fidaa and Anan often refer to the area around their store as “Little Palestine” in their conversations. However, they point out that while there are a handful of Palestinian food places in Mississauga, they found that dairy was non-existent. Especially cheese. “At home, of course, we have had delicious food, historically, but cheese is a cultural obsession,” said Fidaa.

Nabulsi cheese is a staple in Palestinian cuisine. Fidaa featured small blocks of brined white cheese speckled with nigella seeds. “We eat it with pita. We can fry it to make it softer. We can even put it in dessert, ”he said.

Nabusli cheese making.  The milk solids are separated from the water (whey).

The process to get the right texture is complex, Anan said. “All cheeses start the same. But then you have the culture, the insulation, the temperature and humidity, the way you age it, the way you keep it. It was an adventure, this trip has taken us many years ”, he said.

A liquid rennet is added to the boiled milk to separate the milk particles. A teardrop-shaped crystalline putty resin is then added to give it elasticity and flavor. Once the milk solids are separated and dried, they are salted and dumped to remove excess moisture. When cooled, the cheese has a firm and elastic texture.

Ghee is also available from Nablus Creamery. "We use the leftover whey from the cheese making process to make our own ghee," Anan Zaqa said.

At the store, Fidaa fried some Nabulsi cheese and stuffed it into a pita to show how the texture changes and it becomes soft and elastic, like curd in a poutine.

They also make ghee. “We use the leftover whey from the cheese making process to make our own ghee,” Anan said. Also known as Samneh Baladi, a traditional style of ghee that is infused with spices. When used in cooking, it blooms with aromas of nuts and baking spices.

“It has this transporting quality,” Anan said. “People will come back and tell us that their kitchens were full of memories of cooking at home.”

Read all the stories in this week’s Toronto food coverage:

This Vietnamese vegetarian restaurant is the place to go for a hot pot

For delicious Iraqi kebabs, just ask

It’s worth the wait in line – Roasted Nut Factory’s giant cashews and pistachios are sublime



Reference-www.thestar.com

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