New York City’s hot summers mean we need a lot of frozen treats to keep our cool. But the latest new ice cream to hit Brooklyn isn’t so much scooped — it’s stretched.
Meet booza, ice cream’s smoother, denser and creamier cousin, now available at Republic of Booza that just opened at 76 N. Fourth St. in Williamsburg. Which already sounds like a dessert that needs to be in our summer rotation, but it’s the dairy-based treat’s signature elasticity that’s really turning heads.
The magic happens with the help of two ancient ingredients found in the Eastern Mediterranean region known as the Levant. Sahlab (ground orchid root) and mastic (resin) are combined with milk in a freezer drum, then alternately pounded with a large wooden pestle and stretched by hand. This process also makes booza very dense, which means it’s slower to melt and packs in more flavor than traditional ice cream.
Since it was created over 500 years ago, booza has traditionally only come in one flavor called qashta, or “candied cream.” But as “the world’s first modern booza shop,” the Republic of Booza is taking booza on a flavor tour of the world.
The shop carries 17 varieties, all made in-house, beginning with crowd-pleasing Classics like Salted Caramel and Mint Chocolate Chip. But what’s going to get people’s attention is their Global section of global flavors like Red Miso, Mexican horchata and their own take on the fermented dessert trend, Amba Mango Pickle. And then there’s the Experimental section, starting with Salted Oreo and ramping up from there, to Saffron Peppercorn and the kicky Sichuan White Chocolate.
Prices start at $5.25 for a small to $8.25 for an extra large in a cup, regular cone or Konery artisanal cone. The shop also aims to top out its menu at 35 flavors, so check back for what wild flavor combos they come up with next.
And if you’re in the store at just the right time, you can catch a glimpse of the labor-intensive stretching and pounding that goes into each bite. It’s serious work, especially in this heat, so tip your ice cream servers well.
Republic of Booza is located at 76 N. Fourth St., open daily from noon to 10 p.m. Sun-Thurs and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.