Instead of having my table in Hafah souq, as I had hoped, due to a complicated set of events, the ice cream is instead now available at Ittina restaurant (Ittine Fish Garden.) This is better, actually, and I was barely disappointed. If you just wait, things happen. If you are visiting Salalah, you should drop by this restaurant in any case--the jasmine is spectacular! Also, they serve actual Italian food. I had vegetarian broccoli soup and a fabulous rocket (arugula) salad with strawberries and walnuts last night. Seriously. They make Penne Al Arrabiata and other vegetarian dishes. Anyone who is familiar with our local restaurant offerings here will be shocked and impressed. And it’s the birthplace of Shai Hakim. Camels wander outside just beyond the fence and you can enjoy a fresh juice and sheesha under the narcotic canopy of the biggest Jasmine creeper I’ve ever seen! In bloom now!
To reach Ittin Fish Garden, just follow the Ittin road up past the fairgrounds, straight at the roundabout, right at the next roundabout, and there it is. Open late. The owner is the charming and delightful Mohammed Marhoun--be sure you say hello when you visit.
These signs were almost impossible to photograph.
I had a week or two of constant press coverage: Condé Nast Traveler magazine features us in the October scent issue, and Susan Hack has written up the frankincense ice cream in her daily travel blog. Al Jazeera English came asking about the current state of frankincense trees, and a Japanese film crew was here making a one hour documentary on Frankincense in Salalah and they shot every step of the distillation process, shopping in the frankincense market, ice cream making, and a long interview. We had a tasting in Hafah Souq and were completely mobbed.
The oil is fantastic, very complex and sweet, and the four main ice cream flavors are rocking. Holy crap I gave away a lot of ice cream last month. I also started doing Myrrh and decided not to even bother trying to separate the oil from the hydrosol. The hydrosol is a fantastic, active entity as it is, and Myrrh is quite difficult to distill anyway.
Khareef has come, meaning the temperature has dropped, rain has appeared, and the greening of Salalah has begun. Visitors are flooding in already, from all over the Gulf, and I’m making some plans to go on a little trip with my friend.