The history of the Turkish ice cream (dondurma), goes back to approximately 300 to 500 years in Anatolia region of Turkey.
The home town of the dondurma is Kahraman Maras which is a city located in South Eastern part of Turkey. Although K. Maras has a warm climate in summer, there is a high mountain called Ahirdagi which has snow all year around. Hundreds years ago when freezers hasn’t been invented and electricity hasn’t been used yet, locals of Maras city, used to climb the Ahirdagi Mount and preserve the snow by covering it with brushwood.
During the hot summer days, they climb back to the mountain and bring the snow to their homes on mules. They mix it with grape molasses or honey, or a fruit juice and create a cold dessert named Karsambac. Karsambac was a special treat for the guests coming to their homes. By the time, each district in Maras City had at least one person selling snow in earthen pots and it created a business for some locals.
Ahirdagi also has an ideal climate to raise goats. The milk of these goats which fed with flora of the high mountains, is dense, aromatic and creamy which makes it the basic component of the dondurma. Even there is a story told about a rich farmer who used to give away the over goat milk, through a marble canal from the mountain to the city.
Anatolia region and consequently K.Maras and Ahirdagi are home of the orchids called salep . Salep is a general name for this type of orchids and the name of a hot drink made by boiling processed orchid roots with milk. This aromatic winter drink has always been very popular in Turkey and also during Ottoman Empires. So the locals of Kahraman Maras City, had snow coming from mountains during hot summer days, high quality goat milk and aromatic salep. These three components led them to create a creamy, dense, aromatic ice cream which became famous all around Turkey and the World.
MADO is the first brand comes to mind when we talk about Turkish ice cream as it is one of the biggest producers with over 300 MADO Café branches in Turkey and over 20 branches abroad (Qatar, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Azerbaycan, China, Netherlands, Iraq, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Russia and Australia )
The company is owned by a family, producing ice cream since 4 generations in Kahraman Maras and the first main branch was opened by Mehmet Kanbur who is the 4 th generation ice cream and dessert master, in Istanbul in 1992 under the name of MADO (MA=Maras / DO=Dondurma) Today all MADO Cafés are supplied by MADO ice cream and dessert factories located in Kahraman Maras City which is the home of Turkish ice cream. When such a big quantity of ice cream involved for supplying all branches, availability of goat milk becomes a problem. MADO has established several own goat farms with thousands of goats raised in the slopes of Ahirdagi mountain for this purpose.
Today all MADO branches gets their ice cream from the factory in Kahraman Maras, where the ice cream still produced traditional way with hundred percent goat milk and around 50 flavours. This ice cream is so dense and solid it is eaten with fork and knife. Unlike other café restaurants, MADO Café menus starts with ice creams and ends with food and beverages. The menu is like an encyclopedia of ice cream coupes and combinations with traditional Turkish desserdts.
Home made jams, fresh fruits, baklava variaties are accompanying the traditional kesme dondurma (cut/sliced ice cream) with plain, pistachio, chocolate flavors which are eaten with fork and knife, as well as other different flavors served as layers ( Caramel , Almond , Hazelnut , Chocolate Chips , Lemon , Mix Fruit , Orange , Banana , Coconut , Strawberry , Apricot , Blackberry , Raspberry , Sour Cherry , Turkish coffee , Kiwi , Pomegranate , Mango , Pineapple , Melon , Light Plain , Light Sour cherry , Mastic gum … and more)
Mado is also a huge producer of Turkish desserts such as kunefe and baklava varieties. Pistachio Baklava, Pistachio Sobiyet, Pistachio Dolama has their unique taste coming from the special pistachio being brought from Gazi Antep city, which a leading pistachio producer with highest quality, and the city is right next to Kahraman Maras. Cheese kunefe, Cream burma kunefe, pistachio kunefe, Bal borek Honey pie are cooked a la minute and served warm with plain and pistachio ice creams on the side on a wood tray with a special presentation.
Classic milky desserts; Kazandibi, Baked rice pudding, chocolate profiteroles, cakes, home made special chocolates in gift packages, are made by Turkish pastry chef on a daily basis. Topping any milky dessert with a couple layers of ice cream is very common.
The food menu in Mado has a wide variation of traditional and contemporary Turkish and international cuisines as well as some dishes from Kahraman Maras, such as traditional Kahraman Maras breakfast, home made manti and icli kofte (kibbeh), grilled kofte (meatball) dishes, steaks, pastas, crepes wraps, sandwiches, salads and many more accompanied by Fresh juices, smoothies and Milkshakes made by ice cream and ofcourse Turkish tea and Turkish coffee with distinctive presentations of Mado.
" First MADO franchise branch in Qatar, was opened approximately 2 years ago in Ezdan Mall Gharaffa and one year ago in Pearl Qatar and it is projected to increase the number of Mado branches in Qatar, in the near future."