Of course “the world’s best ice cream” is a dubious and nearly impossible to prove claim.
Nonetheless, I stand behind it: having eaten an array of ice cream/gelato on two continents, countless cities, and from the shelves of some of the finest gourmet markets, there is no ice cream quite like the one made at Stani (STANH, is the Greek spelling), on the island of Rhodes.
The family-owned Rhodes-wide chain, with its flagship store at the Agia Anastasia plaza near the historic Diagoras Stadium, just a five-minute cab ride or 20-minute walk from the center of town, was founded many, many decades ago by Ibraim Sari Hassan, a “Turk.”
The multitudes of Rhodes denizens are evolved, and no longer harbor staunch anti-Turkish sentiment. Even most of the hardcores, who love ice cream and know they won’t find any better, have given up their xenophobia – even rationalizing that “well, the ones who run it now are really Greeks, as they were born in Greece.”
Meanwhile, the rest of Rhodes’ locals and tourists pack the Stani stores nightly, forming lines as if they’re buying tickets to a rock concert in the pre-Internet days (or, to modernize the analogy a bit – waiting for the latest i-Phone).
The secret to Stani’s success is not only flavor, but freshness. The ice cream is made with fresh milk of the day – and though edible even days later out of the freezer, nothing beats it straight out of the ice cream mixer – just like nothing beats freshly-caught fish straight out of the Aegean Sea.
For those of you who’ve eaten this ice cream, please respond. Do you agree that it is the best of all time? And if not, please tell us what is – because if there’s actually one out there that’s even BETTER, I’ll be the first to try it!