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Country: Canada with Syrian roots
Material: Olive and Laurel oils; sodium hydroxide
About the Artisans:
Abdulfatah Sabouni is a fourth generation soap maker and Syrian refugee who settled in Calgary, AB. When he arrived in Calgary, his entrepreneurial dreams were never far from his thoughts since making soap has been his family business for more than 125 years; even his last name, Sabouni, means soap maker! The centuries-old tradition of Aleppo soap making — which uses no chemicals or other additives —involves secret family recipes handed down for generations. In the 11th century, the Crusaders brought Aleppo soap back to Europe, starting a centuries-long love affair with the olive oil and laurel oil based soap said to be intensely moisturizing. Aleppo soap is thought to be one of the world’s oldest types of soap, and there is reference in popular press to Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Queen Zenobia of Syria using Aleppo soap, although these claims have yet to be verified by Scholarly method. For Sabouni, making the world-famous Aleppo soap is his way of giving back to a city and country that has given he and his family so much.