Everything you need to know about Maras ice cream

Maras dondurma is a traditional Turkish mastic ice cream. It typically includes the ingredients cream, whipped cream, salep, mastic, and sugar. The ice cream originates from the city and region of Kahraman Maraş and therefore is known as Maraş ice cream.


According to the legend, the Maras ice cream was discovered by accident whilst the founder was trying to make another type of ice cream dessert called “Karsambaç.” 

What is Karsambaç

Karsambaç is a fruit ice cream made in Maras, Turkey. Traditionally the ice cream would be completed by mixing the snow from the “Ahir” mountain with grape syrup. 

The founder of Maras ice-cream

The founder of Maras ice-cream was a man named Osman Ağa, who used to sell wild orchids (salep) to the Ottoman palace and other noble families. One day Osman buried the remains of saleps and a mixture of milk and sugar in the snow. When checked on his mix the next day, he realized that the blend of milk, sugar, and salep resulted in a dense consistency that stretched like chewing gum. Realizing he had found a unique taste, Osman Ağa started the Maras ice cream tradition.

Maras in winter

What is special about Maraş ice cream?

First and foremost, goat milk! The lack of any artificial additives underlines the naturalness of the Maraş ice cream. Secondly, the traditional Maraş ice cream also contains salep(which is extracted from the tubers of certain terrestrial orchid species) as a binding agent. 

Since certain terrestrial orchids and their derivatives are prohibited worldwide (or are subject to strict regulations), the Maras ice cream could not be imported from Turkey like other Turkish food products. 

Maras ice cream

The lack of salep as a binding agent can be compensated by using conventional binding agents such as guar gum and locust bean gum. In some cases, salep is also replaced by the cheaper tapioca starch.

Where can you find traditional Maras ice cream in Australia?

There are various shops and cafes that specialise in Maras ice cream in Melbourne and Sydney. 

Sydney’s Auburn once was the home to an off-shoot of Turkish Mado, a famous Turkish maras ice cream chain, from late 90s and the early 2000s. Mado had become the go-to-place for everything you’d expect from a cafe in Istanbul; ice cream, baklava, Turkish tea & coffee and even more. However the restaurant shut down after 2010.

Hakiki Turkish Ice Cream in Newtown Sydney

Nev and Zeynep Bagriyanik, decided to bring Maras Ice cream to Australia. They started their small manufacturing plant in Castle Hill and eventually opened Hakiki in Newtown Sydney. Hakiki quickly became a hotspot in the bumbling Newtown dining scene.

Maras Ice cream in Melbourne

Cuppa Turca Dondurma and Desserts is a new ice-creamery in Northcote, Melbourne. Harun Yalcin, a former tour guide in Cappadocia in central Turkey, noticed the gap in the Melbourne Turkish dining scene and started Cupp Turca.

Cuppa Turca combines botanical ingredients with cow and goat’s milk (or coconut milk for a vegan option) and natural flavourings.

Cuppa Turca Dondurma & Desserts is located on 244 High St Northcote VIC.