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4/26/10 Ice Cream in Morocco

You'd think a desert country would be filled with cold treats.

You'd be wrong.

If you want American-style ice cream, you're limited to the biggest cities. I've been to a Haagen-Daaz in Marrakesh, where I was so bedazzled by the *glass* *dish* and *spoon* and *napkin* and other amenities that I actually snapped a picture:

In the Jm3 al-Fnaa in Marrakesh, you can get ice cream cones that slide down deliciously, but which always make me feel thirsty. (Maybe extra rock salt was used to make the ice cream?) In Essaouira, you can find gelato by the harbor. In Rabat, a gelaterie is located across from the train station. (You can also get a cone or shake at McDonald's, found in every major city, but would you really want to? They taste just as plastic here as in America.)

There are also pseudo-ice cream dispensers in most of the moderate-sized cities, where for 1DH you can get a cone with a swirl of cold squishy stuff that *looks* like ice cream but tastes like dirty water. (COLD dirty water, though, so I've gotten it more than once, on blisteringly hot days.)

And then there are the ice cream bars. Remember ice cream sandwiches, and chocolate-coated ice cream on a popsicle stick (what are those things called again?), and push pops, and nutter butter cones? They all have analogues here in Morocco.

My personal favorite is the Magnum. Usually available (where you can find it!) in Double Chocolate or Double Caramel, this is the brass ring of Moroccan ice cream options. I've spent many an hour wandering a strange city, questing for a Double Caramel Magnum. Mmmmm. Imagine the usual chunk of ice-cream-on-a-stick, dipped in caramel, dipped in a hard-shell chocolate coating, then dipped *again* in caramel, and again shelled in chocolate. Mmmmmmmm.

When Magnums cannot be found (sadness!), I'll settle for a MaxiBon. This half-ice cream bar, half-ice cream sandwich combines my two favorite cold treats into one delicious snack. Tip: eat the bar half first, because it's easier to hold the sandwich half. Especially if it's *really* hot, and the whole thing will melt in something less than five minutes.

Oh, and be prepared to haggle. Smart hanut owners know that Magnums and MaxiBons make the world go 'round, and they charge accordingly. Don't be surprised if they ask for 20dh apiece. Never pay more than 18dh, and do your best to get the price down to 15dh. (I know the difference is less than 50 American cents, but it's the principle of the thing.)

Bon Appetit!

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