Kahramanmaras ice cream is a miracle from Ahir Mountain and the Maraş ice cream masters. On the high slopes of Ahir and Nurhak Mountains, goats feed on the leaves and wild flowers of keven, thyme, hyacinth and crocuses that are endemic to the Maraş region. This natural diet imparts a unique flavor to the milk. The mountain soil and climate provide the ideal conditions for the wild salep orchid to grow. The dried powdered tubers of this orchid gives Maraş ice cream its unique flavor and elastic texture. In the skilled hands of the ice cream master, these ingredients are transformed into a unique frozen dessert that is the favorite of ice cream connoisseurs around the world.
During the Ottoman Era, a variation of a dessert known as ‘karsambaç’ was served in the palaces. At that time, travelling salesmen from the Maraş region, known as ‘Maraşlı Osman Ağa’, were selling wild orchid tubers (salep) to the kitchens of Ottoman palaces and to the mansions of nobility. One day after a sale was made, the salesman put some salep into a mixture of sugar and milk. The next day, he noticed a change in the consistency of the milk. It had become thick and elastic. Upon tasting it, he noticed that it had a different flavor.
The frozen dessert Karsambaç, was the forerunner to Maraş ice cream for three generations. Karsambaç is made by mixing fresh snow with grape or mulberry molasses known as ‘pekmez’. The most important feature of Kahramanmaraş ice cream is the use of goat's milk. In the first step of the process, goat’s milk is boiled to 90 degrees to sterilize it. Next, salep and sugar are added to the milk. This is mixed well and left to rest for 6 to 8 hours. Finally, it is frozen to 6- degrees and then served. Maraş ice cream is rich in A and D vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium iron and zinc. In every 100 gr. of frozen Maraş ice cream there is approximately 135 mg calcium, 115 mg phosphorus, 100 mg. sodium, 160 mg. potassium, 0.1 mg. iron, 130 mg. vitamin A, 0.21 mg. vitamin E 0.25 mg. vitamin B 0.13 mg. and other vitamins have been identified. Today, Kahramanmaraş ice cream is made into different frozen dessert products and flavors that are distributed domestically and abroad.