Al Nassma

<em>Time Out</em> talks to chocolatier Martin van Almsick about camel milk, Dubai Outlet mall and sweets for diabetics

Interview

Wow, this place is pretty far out. Why’d you set up near Outlet Mall?
We’re adjoined to the Camelicious camel farm. They’re our sister company and we use their milk in our brand. We’re the only supplier of camel milk chocolate in the world.

So why camel milk?
Camels are really underutilised. There four million camels in the Sudan, for instance, and no one uses them. And their milk is better for you. There is five times the insulin in camel milk than in cow’s milk. I knew someone who was diabetic and pregnant, and therefore didn’t want to shoot insulin, so she drank camel milk every night before dinner, and her blood sugar actually went down.

It is very unique
Yes, it is, and what’s great about it is that it’s a Dubai-based product made from a local ingredient, which is rare. The camel is so versatile. I’d love to see Dubai have camel salamis and cured meats. Louis Vuitton could buy make a line of bags from camel leather. Imagine how popular those would be with the local ladies.

Is it true that no other producers make camel milk chocolate? You’d think someone would have thought of it by now.
I know. As a chocolatier, to be involved with something like this is very exciting. It’s a real innovation in the industry, like when Daniel Peter invented milk chocolate in 1875, or when Rodolphe Lindt invented the candy bar in 1879.

Um, gosh. You know a lot about chocolate.
I used to work in the chocolate museum in Cologne.

So how are the camels treated? Are the conditions bad?
Not at all. They have a lot of room, and they eat hay and grass. They also love carrots. They don’t have any stress. The reason Al Nassma uses Camelicious milk is because they’re one of the few producers that make milk to our high standards, and this is because of how they treat their camels.

So what are the best sellers?
When people first started calling the store, I’d say, well, we have hollow chocolates and chocolate bars, with dates, Arabic spices, and so on, and they’d just say, ‘Could you just put together a selection’, so we did, and that selection is our best seller.

Al Nassma (04 223 9289), near the Dubai Outlet Mall. Open 10am-6pm daily

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