Marble Slab Creamery: ice-cold freshness

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Updated 07 November 2012

Marble Slab Creamery: ice-cold freshness

Ice cream parlors are smoking HOT, disregarding their predisposition to coolness. Marble Slab Creamery stands out among the many for two main reasons. One is, they make their own ice cream fresh on-site each day anew. A second reason: Their ice cream scoopers know how to spectacularly juggle your order. Really – just pick your favorite combination of ice cream flavors and toppings and watch the employees mix and flip those on a frozen marble countertop (hence the name of the chain). Before you know it, the scoopers throw their balled-up creations high into the air, across the counter even, to have a colleague catch them in an ice cream tub. That’s a tasty dessert and entertainment all wrapped up in one.
Marble Slab can make a variety of up to 77 different flavors. Of course you’ll find old faithfuls like vanilla, strawberry and chocolate… But why not opt for peppermint, cheesecake, honey, butter-pecan or their well-liked birthday cake flavor? If you prefer sorbet, they can do watermelon, raspberry, lemon, green apple and more. Looking for a low-fat variety or one without added sugar? There are over half a dozen to choose from, including frozen yoghurts. People who are lactose intolerant should wait until December, when Marble Slab expects to serve dairy-free ice cream to suit these needs.
All ice creams are made fresh on-site, using in part imported Marble Slab products to ensure a consistent taste. Where possible, they use local produce, like fruits. Unfortunately, up till now, none of the ingredients are organic.
The next step is to choose a size. As Marble Slab is an American franchise chain, their portions are based on American expectations. So a Value size for SR14 already makes for a baseball size serving. The Big Dipper, their largest at SR20, will leave most people gasping for breath. Their Kids sized ice cream for SR 12 is a chubby Benjamin.
Over the last few years, Marble Slab Creamery has rapidly grown to match its oversized ice cream portions. The company was founded in Houston, United States, by two chefs in 1983. They were the first to use a frozen marble countertop, on which the flavors and additional toppings were twisted and folded to create a tasty ensemble.
The toppings and “mixins”, as Marble Slab calls them, consist of a wide choice. There is a variety of fresh fruits to choose from, ranging from blueberry, pineapple, banana to strawberry and raspberry. These are frozen, to keep your creation at the best temperature when you are ready to eat.
Alternatively, you could opt for gummy bears, chocolate chips, marshmallows, granola, cookies or pieces of different chocolate bars. You get one mixin free of charge; for additional ones you pay SR 3 per choice.
Finally, you pick your cone. Marble Slab hand-rolls and bakes their waffle cones and bowls in the store. It is that warm, inviting aroma that immediately greets you as you walk up to the counter. The cones and bowls can be plain, or have a rim hand-dipped in chocolate, cookies, nuts, fudge or sprinkles.
Arab News went to Marble Slab’s flagship store in Jeddah, at Hamad Center in Prince Sultan Street. This branch offers up to 35 seats between the singles’ and family sections. Here, they make the ice cream and bake cookies for all four Jeddah branches, which are at Mall of Arabia, Haifa Mall and Andalus Mall.
In Alkhobar, you will find Marble Slab at Amwaj Mall.
Next month, Marble Slab will start catering in Jeddah. They can bring a portable frozen marble countertop and a choice of ice creams and mixins to cater at parties and large gatherings. In two months’ time, a flagship store will open in Riyadh. The month after that, visitors at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport will get to enjoy ice cream at a new store there.
We chose a value-sized serving of peppermint and Swiss chocolate mixed together in a chocolate and butterfingers-rimmed waffle cone. The scooper mixed in frozen raspberries and chocolate chips, and the result was delicious.
To go, we took an ice cream pizza, their latest best-selling product. Rest assured, it only looks like a pizza, but it is made up entirely of ice cream and toppings on a chocolate sponge base, and it tastes nothing like a real pizza.
We also brought home a few Great American Cookies, the brand Marble Slab sells. These included a few very sweet brownies and cookies in various flavors, including chocolate chip, double fudge, snickerdoodle and peanut butter supreme. Next time we’re looking for a sweet fix – no doubt soon — we’ll know where to go!

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Take a healthy approach to the issue of nutritional supplements

Updated 21 April 2018

Take a healthy approach to the issue of nutritional supplements

JEDDAH: There is a growing need for dietary supplements in Saudi Arabia, given the increasing popularity of junk food and the effective role supplements can play in treating diseases caused by mineral and vitamin deficiencies.

A recent study found that 22 percent of Saudi people take nutritional supplements. It is no surprise, then, that many Saudi businesses have forged partnerships with international dietary-supplement companies.

Dr. Rowaidah Idriss, a Saudi dietitian with a Ph.D. in nutrition, said dietary supplements can be defined as substances that provide the human body with a nutrient missing from a person’s regular diet. However, she stressed that they are not intended to replace healthy eating.

She also warned against taking them without first talking to a doctor or dietitian, as some products can have side effects, especially if taken before surgery or with other medicines. 

“They can also cause problems if someone has a history of certain health issues,” she added.

A blood test can determine which nutrients we are not getting enough of in our diet, and therefore which supplements might be beneficial. Nutritional supplements are also used to help treat certain health conditions. 

“Vitamin C, for example, is often used to reduce cold symptoms,” said Idriss. “Fish oil is taken to lower elevated blood triglycerides.”

She suggested four daily essentials that can bridge nutritional gaps in our diet: a multivitamin, vitamin D, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. 

“I routinely recommend a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement to my clients after consulting with their doctors,” she said. 

“For menstruating women, who require 18 milligrams of iron each day, a daily supplement helps boost iron intake.”

She said people over the age of 50 are advised to take a multivitamin to ensure they are getting enough B12, which plays a key role in the functioning of the nervous system and the development of red blood cells. 

“Older adults are more vulnerable to B12 deficiency because they are more likely to have decreased production of stomach acid, which is needed to release B12 from the proteins in food.” said Idriss. 

“It is also a good idea to take a daily multivitamin if one is following a low-calorie diet.”

She also pointed out that a high intake of DHA and EPA, the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, are linked with a lower risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. A deficiency of DHA might also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. 

“A daily intake of 1,000 milligrams of both DHA and EPA is equivalent to eating 12 ounces of salmon a week,” said Idriss.

The dietitian believes that the Saudis who take food supplements often do so more to benefit their appearance than their health. 

“Saudi women consume more dietary supplements than other people in Saudi Arabia,” she said. 

“They do so either to lose weight or to care for their hair and nails. Bodybuilders also take large amounts of supplements.”

However, both groups, according to Idriss, tend to take supplements on the recommendation of friends and trainers, not doctors. 

She warned that commercials and social-media rumors can persuade people to buy supplements online that may not be approved as safe by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, and advised people to get as much of their daily nutrient needs as possible from healthy eating.

Dr. Rowaidah Idriss

“Along with vitamins and minerals, a healthy diet provides fiber and hundreds of protective phytochemicals, something a supplement cannot do,” she said, adding that the body absorbs natural food more effectively than supplements.

In addition, combining supplements with medications can have dangerous, even life-threatening, effects. 

“Drugs for heart disease and depression, treatments for organ transplants, and birth-control pills are less effective when taken with herbal supplements,” she said.

“Taking an anticoagulant, aspirin, and a vitamin E supplement together may increase the potential for internal bleeding or even stroke.”


Natural sources

With the spread of fast-food restaurants and their alluring ads, the long-term health of the Saudi people is in danger, as children and young people snub natural sources of nutrients, such as fruit and vegetables. 

“This can lead to many deficiency diseases. Moreover, vegetarians can develop similar illnesses due to the absence of meat in their diet,” she said.
Dr. Ashraf Ameer, a family-medicine consultant, said the importance of nutritional supplements lies in treating mineral and vitamin deficiency, especially for pregnant women, growing children, diabetics, people with chronic diseases, and the elderly. 

“However, these products should come from reliable companies and meet Saudi food and drug requirements,”he added.

Mohammed Yaseen, who has a food supplements business, said his company works with a leading British health-care company to provide the Saudi market with high quality products.

“With this we hope we can contribute to the national transformation program by raising private-sector spending in health care from 25 percent to 35 percent, which in turn would lead to the sector’s financial sustainability and boost economic and social development in the Kingdom,” Yaseen said.


Vitamin Terms

DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid. EPA stands for eicosapentaenoic acid.  Phytochemical is a biologically active compound found in plants.