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Dondurma (Turkish, literally "freezing") is the name given to ice cream in Turkey. Dondurma typically includes the ingredients milk, sugar, salep, and mastic, and may originate from the Turkish region of Kahramanmaraş.


Two qualities distinguish Turkish ice cream: texture and resistance to melting. Inclusion of the thickening agents salep, a flour made from the root of the Early Purple Orchid, and mastic, a resin, impart chewiness.

The Kahramanmaraş region is known for maraş dondurması, a variety which contains distinctly more salep than usual; tough and sticky, it is sometimes eaten with a knife and fork.

Consumption and culture

Dondurma is commonly sold from both street vendor's carts and store fronts where the mixture is churned regularly with long-handled paddles to keep it workable. Vendors often tease the customer by serving the ice cream cone on a stick, and then taking away the dondurma with the stick and rotating it around, before finally giving it to the customer.

As of 2010, the average rate of consumption in Turkey was 2.8 liters of ice cream per person per year (compared to the USA at 18.3 liters per person in 2007, and world consumption leader New Zealand at 22-23 liters in 2006).

Some Turks adhere to a belief that cold foods, such as ice cream, will cause illnesses - such as sore throats and the common cold; it is held that consumption of warm liquid while consuming ice cream will counteract these effects.

The popularity of salepli dondurma has caused a decline of wild orchids in the region and led to a ban on exports of salep.

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