Back in 400 B.C., people in the Persian Empire were already cooling off with an ancient version of the snow cone: grape juice poured over collected snow. The next evolution in icy-sweet concepts was faloodeh, a sorbet made of cooked vermicelli noodles frozen in a syrup of sugar and rosewater, finished with a squeeze of lime juice. One of the world’s earliest known frozen desserts, this 2,500-year-old treat is still a summertime favorite in Iran today.
Keeping things cold wasn’t exactly easy back then. To preserve food in a hot, dry climate, Persian engineers developed a type of massive, domed ice house called a yakhchal. These structures had thick mud walls, underground storage areas, coned roofs that allowed hot air to rise, underground aqueducts, and other features designed to keep ice cool. The yakhchals kept Persian royalty supplied with faloodeh during sweltering summers.
Today’s faloodeh is often served with sour cherries (or sour cherry syrup), fresh mint, berries, crushed pistachios, and/or a dollop of saffron ice cream. Lemon juice is sometimes added instead of lime.
Faloodeh is sometimes called paloodeh, and it’s not to be confused with falooda, its milkshake-like cousin popular throughout South Asia, which was born when faloodeh came to India with the Mughal empire in the 16th century.
Need to Know
Within Iran, faloodeh is especially associated with the city of Shiraz. Outside of Iran, faloodeh can be found in Iranian diaspora restaurants and grocery stores.
Where to Try It
Mashti Malone's Ice Cream1525 North La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, 90028, USA
This renowned Hollywood ice cream shop serves up Persian flavors, including faloodeh.