ALGERIA: zlabiya, this irresistible delicacy consumed without measure in Algeria during the month of Ramadan, has been a real trend for many years. This “must” is actually nothing more than a crunchy and honeyed candy that beautifully decorates tables on holy month evenings to accompany tea on Ramadan evenings. Semolina, flour, yeast, water and honey – just four ingredients are enough to make this delicious pie, affordable for any budget and appreciated by Algerians from all over the country.
zlabiya Bufarika, “reference”
Every Ramadan, the city of Boufarik, located 35 km southwest of Algiers, undergoes a real metamorphosis, and a huge stream of Algerians comes to buy the glory of “zlabet de Boufarik”.
Clearly, this traditional patisserie has a special attraction for fasting people, as evidenced by the endless lines of cars registered in the various provinces of the country. Shops offering it are located one after the other on both sides of the entrance to the city.
“For me it’s almost a ritual (laugh)! Every month of Ramadan I plan to buy zlabiya Bufarika. I am here again after two years of shortages due to restrictive measures related to the fight against the epidemic,” says Takhar, who came specially from the Medea vilayet to satisfy his taste buds.
The young man in his thirties also explains that he has lost his mythical taste for it. zlabiyahaving not been able to visit Bufarik for the past two years. “I confess that I was frightened when I read in the newspapers that the city and province of Blida were the epicenter of the epidemic! Thank God, with the lifting of sanitary measures, I am here on this first day of the holy month to buy myself two kilograms: for my family and for a friend who begged me to get him a kilo,” he continues.
For our interlocutor zlabiya Bufarik looks like a label. “Craftsmen and merchants of this delicacy are everywhere, but the mere mention of the origin of Bufarik gives another pleasure, in addition to the pleasure of tasting sweets,” he assures.
Aziza is also full of enthusiasm. The mother of the family came from the capital to buy this honey dish. ” zlabiya this is, frankly, an indispensable delicacy in the holy month of Ramadan,” she says. She admits that she cannot imagine her Ramadan table without a precious delicacy. “Now it is inscribed in our traditions, in our gallant customs… over good tea for some or coffee for others and at a beautiful table decorated with other traditional cakes, our families get together and spend evenings worthy of the name,” Aziza explains.
For her, zlabiya also allows you to recharge your batteries to face another day of Lent. “Our ancestors baked and left us magnificent traditional cakes such as zlabiyaQueen of Algerian maida.
From father to son…
AT Boufarik, families have a good recipe and know-how of this pastry, which is passed down from generation to generation in the family circle. “Authentic zlabiya is recognizable by its incomparable taste, and to eat the real one, you need to buy it from an axil, ”says Rabah, a native of this city.
For him the real zlabiya de Boufaric is hardly to be found among these vendors, whom he calls “lovers,” but rather among several Boufariquoise families who know how to preserve this outstanding taste, the secret of which is zealously passed down from father to son. “Our table zlabiya Axil is absolutely worth nothing,” the young man assures.
AT To this day, members of the Axil family continue from father to son and from mother to daughter to perpetuate this tradition. Their reputation has even become international, their zlabiya now sold throughout the Mediterranean. It can be found in France, Belgium and Great Britain, exporting the grandchildren of this family, who have long settled in Europe with the same exceptional and unchanging taste thanks to the art of its preparation.
Rise in prices
However, many enthusiasts expressed their dissatisfaction with the high prices for zlabiya. Bufarik sellers really display the price is 300 Algerian dinars (i.e. 1.93 euros) per kilogram. “But two years ago we bought it at 150 dinars/kg!” the buyer exclaims, and then adds: “And, as usual, sellers justify this increase with high prices for ingredients. zlabiya or because of a shortage.
For their part, craftsmen complain about the high cost of butter, sugar and the lack of semolina, which the country has been experiencing for several months. “We receive our supplies directly from large retail areas, like ordinary consumers, we do not use preferential tariffs, so the price increase is fully justified,” explains the confectioner.
Faced with this situation, many families, for reasons of economy, prefer to cook zlabiya in their house. There is no shortage of recipes, especially on social media. This age-old recipe seems to be finally ready to reveal its secrets and delight the taste buds of thousands of followers…or not! To find out, you’ll have to try hundreds of recipes circulating on YouTube. All you have to do is roll up your sleeves and wish you good luck!