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Forget vanilla — complex Persian ice cream flavors like saffron pistachio rosewater are coming to Westwood when Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream opens its second location at 1898 Westwood Blvd.
Owners Mashti and Mehdi Shirvani, credited with bringing Persian ice cream flavors to California in 1980 at their flagship 1525 N La Brea Ave, will open their second store forty years later in February. To achieve authentic, unique flavors, their creamery gets its ingredients from overseas, like saffron from Iran and Alphonso mangos from India.
“My father, Mashti, immigrated to the United States in the middle of the ’70s and he was making ice cream at night clubs, restaurants, working as a chef and a musician,” Arezou Shirvani, who will manage the Westwood location, told What Now Los Angeles. “His love that he would always have was for ice cream — that’s where he would help his uncle in Iran. He was working with his father [at the kabob shop], but always wanted to be at the creamery… he wanted to get back to the Iranian culture and bring [people] somewhere to get authentic Persian ice cream.”
He eventually purchased a building that was previously an Irish ice cream parlor called “Mugsy Malone’s” to open his first creamery. Short on funds after closing on the property, he chose a name that called for only a few letter changes to the previous establishment’s sign, settling on “Mashti Malone’s” and retaining the sign’s original shamrock decal.
Their flavors are fragrant and vibrant, both visually and in taste. An eye-catching magenta sorbet called “herbal snow,” made with basil seed, rosewater, lemon, cardamom and a secret blend of 14 herbs, is a Summertime favorite. Other flavors include matcha green tea, virgin cucumber, Turkish coffee and, available with or without pistachios, rosewater. Along with its unique flavor profile, the textures of Persian ice cream will be foreign to uninitiated Westerners. This is achieved, in part, with mastic, the resin from a mastic tree, and salep, orchid bulb powder that is used as a thickening agent. Vermicelli noodles are frozen into rosewater-infused sugar syrup to create “faloodeh,” which delightfully combines crunchy and cold sensations; other flavors contain chunks of frozen, chewy heavy cream.
Their creamery’s “Mashti” sandwiches, called “bastani sonnati” in Iran, take on a different mouthfeel, with pistachios rolled in vibrant yellow ice cream and placed between two delicate wafers with whole pistachios lining the outside of the exposed ice cream and smaller chunks of the nut throughout.
“Since I was a kid really I’ve been working here. Slowly, gradually, I’ve been moving from the register to scooping. Then I started managing [the current] location, taking the reigns a little bit more. Now that we’re getting Westwood open, I will move to that store,” said Arezou. “It helps that everyone’s excited.”