At Pennsic this year, I discovered an absolutely wonderful Turkish drink called sahlep. It’s made from a mountain root, and tastes like hot, creamy vanilla. From what I understand, the root is often sold pre-mixed with sugar as a powder, and the drink is made much like hot chocolate.
Since I returned to Montreal, I’ve been trying to find this powder. I have been, on the whole, unsuccessful.
Working off a tip, I checked of Akhavan, the Arabic grocery store on Sherbrooke in NDG. They didn’t have a drink sahlep mix, but they did have a powdered dessert mix called sahlab, which is made with sahlep root. I finally tried it out today.
The results were… erm… interesting. The end results, which look exactly like they’re supposed to according to the package, is more like vanilla pudding than a drink. It’s fairly tasty, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the wonderful, creamy drink I tried at Pennsic.
I’ve heard that there’s a place in the Jean Talon Market that sells the unadulterated root, so that’s where I’m going to try next. It may be expensive, but damnit I want to have this drink again before next Pennsic rolls around!
Final verdict: good for what it is, but not what I wanted.