A cafe filled with Moroccan delights

OLD SAYBROOK — If, as Proust claimed, taste can transport you across time and space, an ice cream cone from the 1896 James Pharmacy and Soda Fountain can take you to North Africa. The house flavor is Moroccan Delight, a subtly flavored orange ice cream studded with chopped dates and almonds, and flavored with cinnamon. The building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was once operated by Anna L. James, the first licensed African-American woman pharmacist in the state. In 2010, Kathy and Mohammed Benjdid moved their successful Moroccan market and cafe, Tissa’s Le Souk du Maroc, to this historic structure.

The soda fountain, in one half of the building, features original cabinetry, tables and chairs with heart-shaped backs, and Vermont marble countertops. In addition to ice cream floats and New York egg creams, it stocks Kathy Benjdid’s handmade Mediterranean pastries such as honey and walnut baklava and mamouls, biscuit-like sandwich cookies stuffed with dates or nuts.

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