Mado is a chain of Turkish ice cream restaurants with over 350 branches worldwide. I have been to three now and I can’t praise them highly enough The company has a story going back to 1850 but has ballooned in recent years after launching franchises and can now be found across the Middle East as well as in Australia, Western Europe and Asia. Aside from the ice cream they also produce some great quality Turkish meals as well as some of the finest Turkish cakes and patisserie products.
My first Mado experience was in Copenhagen at a particularly smart Mado on Vesterbrogade, near the train station. I had the plain Kesme ice cream, a platter of macarons and two pistachio rolls (known as Fıstıklı Sarma in Turkish). The plain ice cream is really refreshing and the pistachio rolls are so tasty.
Six months later I was in a Mado franchise in Baku, Azerbaijan called “Dondurma” – named after the type of Turkish ice cream thickened with salep (orchid root powder). Here I had to have the pistachio rolls again because they blew my mind the first time, and a slice of plain dondurma ice cream. You may notice a theme of choosing plain ice cream but I am a massive fan of the flavour of dairy products like milk and cream and the plain ice creams at Mado are exquisite. To cater for Azerbaijani tastes, if you order a black tea it comes with jam to sweeten it.
On my way back from Azerbaijan I had a day in Istanbul, Turkey and soon found myself in another Mado. Situated on the bustling Ankara Caddesi close to the ferry terminals, this Mado was still just as laid back as the others I had been to before. This time I had the dondurma ice cream in slices of plain (sade) pistachio (fıstık) and chocolate (çikolata). I also ordered one of their trileçe desserts, a milky sponge-based pudding which I had had before in Skopje.
Mado seems to be constantly expanding, even looking to set up the franchise in the UK. You might not have heard of them before today but you may well soon.