Bältis, Lebanese artisan ice cream under a gazebo in the heart of Paris

The front is white, smooth and shiny. Clear and transparent. The decor is quickly set, the tone and aromas too. The ice cream parlor Bältis, located at 27 rue Saint-Antoine, in the Marais, opens its four glass panels to passers-by, revealing a planted pergola. With rounded gray letters and the first vowel topped with a trilogy of scoops of ice cream, the ice cream man quickly made his marks and added color. On the terrace, tables, also white, accompanied by chairs in coral and light salmon, announce the store’s orange hues and invite to freshness and softness. The roundness motif continues inside, under the pergola wrought iron, in the arcades of the window illusions or in the details of the furniture. “Our shop is named after a Phoenician goddess, even a pre-Phoenician one, who seems to have dedicated herself to protecting Beirut or Byblos. We imagined her as a gourmet goddess: on our Instagram page, she takes on several forms. We even abandoned it on our business cards,” Nadim Kettane clarifies about who is considered the progenitor of Astarte and Venus, with attributes close to her. His accomplice Jean-Michel de Tarrasi admits that the project was born out of his passion for ice cream. “As a consumer, they have always aroused my interest, somewhat disappointment. If I’m on the Lebanese side, I wanted a more sophisticated, more westernized ice cream enriched with technology that has developed on this side of the Mediterranean. I wanted to combine interesting flavors that we usually didn’t associate. » The first area of ​​work with frozen material concerns its texture and improvement of palatability. “I wanted the ice cream to be less sugar rich, less creamy, which would prioritize the ingredient.

Bältis sorbets, colors, flavors and textures. Photo taken from Instagram page @baltisparis

And I wanted to give the sherbet a creaminess – and this is one of the great originalities of Bältis – which is often glazed. Moreover, he clarifies, sherbets originated in Lebanon, around the 9th century, it was the sharabes discovered by the crusaders that a priori went to Sicily with the Arab invasions. We still drink it in the mountains, with crushed ice, debs remmen cheese, blackberry syrup or lemon juice, just like we still make granita on the Amalfi Coast. “We also wanted to bring something new to sherbet in general and bring its Lebanese origin back into the spotlight,” continues Jean-Michel de Tarrazy, who has long been an investor and manager in sectors as diverse as luxury craftsmanship, hospitality or safety. Nadim Kettane, he worked in finance, before he was one of the founders of the Flyp Urban Park trampoline park, in the Quarantine area.

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“The establishment was blown away by a double explosion on August 4, and at that time I arrived in Paris. I was looking for a project that could convey a positive image of Lebanon. I was carried away by the idea of ​​Jean-Michel, and we worked on it for a year and a half. We were aware of the success of Lebanese cuisine in France but felt that the ice cream and desserts were under-reported. We brought our Proust Madeleine and the memories of all the beaches come back where we stopped to eat good ice cream aht with the family and we wanted to offer it to the Parisian public in a beautiful setting. modesty.

Jean-Michel de Tarrasi and Nadim Kettane created the Bältis concept. Photo DR

“Akhta”, “khaleve”, “semsemiye” and cardamom

Bältis has moved to rue Saint-Antoine, between Saint-Paul, Place de la Bastille and Place des Vosges, in a space that combines sales and production, as all ice cream is made locally. “We appreciate the district of Saint-Paul, which is historical and touristic, but also has a soul and its own rhythm. From the very beginning, we have been supported by local merchants and residents. In the Bältis set we collaborated with architect Mark Baroud to create a pleasing effect, with an iron pergola reminiscent of Parisian and Beirut gardens, pink and orange tones, zellige parquet… everything is modern without losing any in terms of comfort and hospitality.” clarifies Nadeem Kettane. Bältis offers a selection of sixteen flavors, including chocolate, halive, salted butter caramel, invented by Jean-Thomas Schneider (2017 confectionery world champion, 2018 ice cream world champion and 2019 France’s best ice cream maker ). “Caleva can surprise not only the taste of the French, but also the Lebanese, because it will be different, very subtle and less sweet,” Jean-Michel Abu Hamad clarifies, recalling that caring for the authenticity of taste is essential for the duo. “We are doing a lot of purchasing work. Our products are organic and our goal is to keep the good taste of fruit in sherbets with as little sugar as possible,” adds Nadim Kettane.

An invitation to enter, choose and taste on the terrace if you like. Photo taken from Instagram page @baltisparis

Under the pergola, the customer can choose Bältis preparations such as akhta covered with crushed pistachios or gazelle el banette, which are very popular. Another more colorful option is apricot sorbet with pine nuts, raisins, almonds, apricot glaze and orange water. “We tried to recreate the hchef, that apricot nage we all love, with its regressive side. In addition, we offer homemade products that go well with ice cream: lemonades, iced teas, Lebanese coffee with cardamom, which are very requested by our customers,” adds Jean-Michel Abu Hamad. A biscuit factory, whose products come from Lebanon, also awaits visitors to this place, pistachio lamb, graibe, semsemiyi, as well as baklava … Among the diverse clientele of Baltis (tourists, neighbors, passers-by or schoolchildren), ahta ice cream seems to be the most popular, for followed by rose water and orange blossom sorbets and bird’s nests, those very popular little frozen bites. The menu adapts to the winter frosts; until then, the question arises about the secret to the smoothness of Bältis sherbets. “It’s about working on the ice cream recipe, not about adding another product like sahlab,” suggests Nadim Kettaneh, Sibylina. They promised “ice cream, like a trip to Lebanon” and, with the assistance of Marc Baroud, “like a bridge between Beirut and Paris, and between childhood and adulthood.” They did it.

The front is white, smooth and shiny. Clear and transparent. The decor is quickly set, the tone and aromas too. The ice cream parlor Bältis, located at 27 rue Saint-Antoine, in the Marais district, opens its four glass panels to passers-by, revealing a tree-lined gazebo. Rounded gray letters and the first vowel, surmounted by a trilogy of balls…

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