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Stretchy Ice Cream Springs Up In Williamsburg

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Booza is an ancient Middle Eastern ice cream with a striking characteristic—it stretches.

"It's stretchy in a supple way, so it still has that creaminess that'll melt in your mouth," said Michael Sadler, co-founder of Republic of Booza.

Where does booza get its elasticity?

"Two key ingredients," Sadler explained.

"One is called sahlab, which is a ground orchid root, and the other is mastic, which is a resin made from a tree in Greece."

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Sadler opened the shop with partners Tamer Rabbani, Jilbert El-Zmetr, and Mohammed Makki.

"[We met] at the end of a long series of serendipitous events. The four of us actually come from four different corners of the world, but were brought together by sheer love for booza and its gravitational pull—no pun intended," Sadler said.

"Booza is the original ice cream that was first developed around 500 years ago in the eastern part of the Mediterranean, known as the Levant," he explained.

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Historically, booza has been served in one flavor—qashta, or candied cream. You'll find a variety of additional flavors at Republic of Booza, divided into three categories: Classic (including vanilla, chocolate, and pistachio), Global (such as red miso, black walnut, and horchata de chufa), and Experimental (like Sichuan white chocolate, saffron peppercorn, and salted Oreo).

While a small cup will set you back $5.25, Sadler says the product is worth the price.

"Quite literally, it packs more flavor per scoop than the other forms of ice cream," he said.

"I say it's like gelato on steroids. People often refer to the difference between gelato and ice cream as being one of density. They say that gelato is churned at a slower speed, so it has less air in it. Booza is like that, ratcheted up a couple notches. So if you take a spoon to gelato, you'll still see some air in it. But if you take a spoon to booza, you'll just see solid, creamy goodness."

"Even the small still has a quarter-pound [of booza], if you were to weigh it."

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Sadler hopes customers feel "delighted and enlightened" by their booza experience.

"Republic of Booza is all about discovery and rediscovery."

Republic of Booza
76 N 4th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249
(718) 302-5000

What's something few people know about but everybody should? Whatever it is, Elle McLogan is tracking it down on The Dig. Join her hunt for treasures hidden across our area. Follow Elle on Twitter and Instagram.

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