Bahraini artisans toil to protect sugar-coated custom

Bahrainis with a candy tooth have lengthy been spoiled for alternative between a wide selection of dessert franchises, however conventional confectioners nonetheless maintain their floor, particularly throughout Ramadan. Behind his modest store within the capital Manama, Mohammed Gharib stirs a thick combination of sugar, saffron and freshly blanched almonds, reworking it right into a uniquely Bahraini model of the ever-present Center Jap dessert: halva.

“Bahrain grew to become well-known for its confectioneries by being a pioneer on this business within the Gulf area,” Gharib informed AFP, including that their recognition of its institutions “continues till in the present day”. Clad in Bahrain’s conventional “shemagh” headdress and white “dishdasha” gown, the 70-year-old runs one of many nation’s oldest confectioneries, named after its founder Hussain Mohammed Showaiter, who established it in 1850.

“Hussain Mohammed Showaiter was eager to develop this craft, and handed it on to his youngsters and grandchildren,” Gharib stated. As Bahrainis have fun Ramadan together with the remainder of the Muslim world, the holy month is a interval of appreciation for conventional sweets. For Mohammed al-Fardan, the acquainted Bahraini confections stay a fixture on tables for the iftar meal, during which the devoted break their dawn-to-dusk quick.

“Their presence is a reminder of Bahrain’s heritage and sense of hospitality,” the 51-year-old banker defined. Although the Gulf area has been swept by a deluge of quick meals chains, Fardan is fast to level out that “trendy sweets comprise preservatives, in contrast to conventional confectionery”.

‘Foremost meals’

However whereas the preservation of heritage is on the coronary heart of the confectioners’ craft, they aren’t averse to innovating to enchantment to a youthful clientele. Saleh Al-Halwaji, who works in his family-owned store, says: “My father used to work in confectionery and I used to assist him after college. “At the moment, we work in the identical area with our personal youngsters,” he stated. Halwaji says he “strives to evolve the sweets and sustain with the occasions whereas sustaining their common character”.

“We nonetheless make every thing ourselves and maybe that’s what attracts so a lot of our clients, who come to purchase sweets but in addition to observe us make them behind the glass,” he stated. Dalal al-Shrouqi, an knowledgeable in Bahrain’s common heritage, says that “in the present day, expertise helps us disseminate every thing we wish to protect of our common heritage by making it recognized to future generations”.

Shrouqi, who has written a number of books on her nation’s conventional delicacies, stated that whereas revolutionary twists are common, individuals nonetheless want “the sweets of their conventional type”. “Issues evolve, however the authentic remains to be the premise.” — AFP

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