Food connects cultures and builds ties – and that’s just what Sassi Ice Cream, in a range of stunning Middle Eastern flavours, was created to do.
I’m sure all of my Australian readers are aware that Masterchef Australia has been in the news for the last couple of weeks – for all the wrong reasons (revelations of cheating, stealing, allegations of arrogance and greed – and that was the judges!).
However, Masterchef is all about the contestants – ordinary people with skills, drive and big dreams – and I was lucky enough to sit down with one of them, the creator of Sassi Ice Cream, recently.
Huda Al Sultan was a contestant on the most recent series of the show. Quietly spoken and possessed of the kind of smile that completely lights a room, she is passionate about food, especially the food of her home in Saudi Arabia. Huda and her husband Adam originally came to Adelaide with one child and a desire to expand their education. Some 12 years later, they now have a Masters in Nutrition and an MBA, respectively, and two more children.
The connection with their families in Saudi is strong, and they strive to get back to visit periodically. On their return to Australia, Huda works to secure those ties for her children, and tries to consolidate the memories they are building of their home land.
The most obvious way for a foodie like her to connect is by repeating the meals they enjoy on their Middle Eastern visits. She tries to pick dishes that have particularly resonated with her children and, obviously, ice cream is pretty high on their list of favourites.
Unable to find the kind of flavours here that are popular in Saudi, Huda has resorted to making them herself, building up a significant repertoire of delicious ice creams, using the flavours that taste of her own childhood.
Happily, in December last year Huda and Adam decided to share these creations with the rest of us, embarking on limited commercial production. Named after her youngest daughter, Sassi Ice Cream is flavoured with all of my Middle Eastern favourites – orange blossom in the cinnamon and walnut Katayef, sesame paste swirls in the Tahini Twist, the tang of pomegranate in the Sage and Pomegranate Swirl, and the glorious gold of Persian saffron in her Saffron Fever.
Surprisingly – and I don’t know how she’s done it – but the Sassi ice cream range has the delicious smooth and creamy consistency of the traditional product, while being totally dairy-free and all vegan!
Like immigrants since time immemorial, Huda and Adam have worked hard to build a life for their family a long way from their original home. They’ve put a great deal of thought into their product, it’s branding and the customers they hope will love it.
Adelaide locals can find Sassi at local market pop-ups, including Gillies at the Grounds, and Huda has secured an upcoming gig at food-lovers central, the Adelaide Central Market, at their ‘Producer in Residence’ stand. Visit Sassi Ice Cream soon, have a chat with Huda and Adam and find out what has been missing from your ice cream experience.
Then watch their space – I have a hunch that we’ll be seeing a lot more of this beautiful ice cream, hopefully in a supermarket near me quite soon!