Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Israel v. P-stine, the three-scoop showdown

I was raised on Haagen Dazs ice cream.  My mom served it at dinner parties, and for years it was Haagen Dazs that set the benchmark for what coffee, strawberry, chocolate and vanilla ice cream flavors should taste like.  Throughout elementary school, I started every morning with a diabetes bomb breakfast of champions: a cup of Twinings Earl Grey tea with milk and sugar, topped with a big scoop of Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream, after which I was sent off to the poor teachers at St. Luke's School who had to deal with a little sugar and caffeine-fueled Tasmanian devil.  No wonder I used to get in trouble for attacking other, more passive students. 

This is all to say that I was very sad to hear, when living in Beirut, that the ice cream company of my childhood funds settlements in the West Bank that are an obstacle to peace.  I wonder, and would be grateful to anyone who knows the answer to this, why Haagen Dazs is then able to operate several profitable franchises around Beirut, including one right in front of the Parliamentary building in Place d'Etoile?

However, there is another option, available in the West Bank city of Ramallah: Baladna ("Our Country") ice creams.  Since I was not legally allowed to travel to Israel or Palestine during my time living in Lebanon and Syria, I didn't actually get to go there, even though the woman in the picture looks a lot like me.  I cannot personally vouch for the fact that the texture was slightly gummy, some of the flavors a little too sweet, but the portions generous and the service charming.  They have my favorite policy - the "as many flavors as you want in a cone" policy.  Snickers flavor was delicious, as most peanut butter-flavored ice creams are.  And they were open at 9 am, so it was the perfect cap to a falafel and hummus breakfast.

The local operation

The Baladna selection.  Bubble Gum is not recommended.

Not me.

Starbucks, incidentally, has a similarly bad reputation for supporting Israeli causes, but luckily right across the street from Baladna is local alternative "Stars and Bucks." 


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