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Damascene confectioners gain pounds in Beirut

The sweet delights of Damascus, from cookies to pistachio-covered ice cream, are now available on Beirut's Hamra street, but not all of Lebanon is nuts about the Syrian offerings.

Pedestrians on Beirut’s Hamra Street slow at the sound of something being battered. As they get closer, they find that the sound is coming from a Syrian ice cream parlor called Fasatoq wa Bunuduq — "Pistachio and Nut" in Arabic — where traditional Damascus ice cream is pounded with a huge hammer.

Behind the counter, Butros pounds the milky ice cream in an icy metal container while in front of the store Hassan urges a group of Iraqi passers-by to taste the Damascene sweets, nuts or pistachio-covered ice cream, just like the ones found in the legendary Bakdash ice cream parlor in the old city of Damascus.

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