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Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
Pinkberry: Fresh Frozen Yoghurt Treats in Citystars
Though it’s not the first frozen yoghurt shop to open up in Cairo, Pinkberry is actually considered by many to be the original frozen yoghurt chain. It took Pinkberry only seven years to take over the world with their yoghurt-infused swirls. Now open in Egypt, you can find its first branch in Phase 2 of Citystars across from Segue. You can spot the shop from afar because of its bright colours, and the endless line in front of the door. We feel for the staff members who work as hard as they can to clear up the lines.
The interior of Pinkberry is bright yellow and pink, and you can take a seat inside or on the little terrace. You can also just opt for take away. You had better not be an indecisive person by nature when you go to Pinkberry because there are a lot of decisions to be made. First you choose a flavour: you can pick from the original yoghurt flavour or pomegranate, mango, chocolate, coconut and passion fruit. You then choose a small, medium or large portion. Then you can pick from several toppings for your frozen yoghurt. A small original flavour portion (28LE) comes with four toppings; a medium portion comes with six toppings and so on. There are a zillion toppings to choose from. There are lots of fruits like raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, pineapple, kiwi and banana for instance. For toppings, you can also get waffle crumbs, gummy bears and various chocolate toppings.
We opted for the original flavour with raspberry, blackberry, kiwi and blueberry pieces. The original flavour is delicious and the fruit portions were generous. The fruit tasted fresh although we suspect it was imported.
The good news is that Pinkberry is very diet-friendly: a small portion of original flavour yoghurt with fruit contains around 140 calories and zero fat; making it the perfect healthy snack.
We also tried the small chocolate-flavoured yoghurt (32LE) and topped that with pistachio, pineapple, white chocolate shavings and raspberries. The yoghurt had a strong chocolate flavour but was nonetheless very light; in contrast to the typical chocolate desserts that will leave you feeling stuffed. Once again the toppings were served in very generous portions, especially the pistachios that made a nice combination with the chocolate.
The frozen yoghurt is absolutely delicious at Pinkberry. We do advise you to have your Pinkberry order as a takeaway as the venue itself lacks any ambiance and tries a little too hard to look trendy. If you’ve been to other Pinkberry branches, you’d know that they can do better.
Like so many fads in Cairo, frozen yoghurt came, saw and conquered the minds, hearts and sweet-teeth of many a Cairene. Egyptians love all things sweet – regardless of what time of the year it is – and frozen yoghurt is no different, with several fro-yo specialists enjoying popularity across the city, mostly in malls. Several have even used the healthy snacking angle, while the endless customisation options only sweeten the deal.
This is the case for one of the newer ones in town, Sweet Frog. In a matter of five years, the American chain has gone on to settle into almost 350 locations – from the UK, to South Korea, to the Dominican Republic, to 6th of October City’s Mall of Arabia.
As is the case with other frozen yoghurt joints, you’re left to your own self-serving devices; pick an appropriatey-sized cup, fill it with the desired flavour of yoghurt, then go nuts at the toppings station. Said toppings station affords you a fittingly eclectic range of munchables, including cereals, nuts, chocolates, gummy sweets – the list goes on.
One of the first things Cairo’s fro-yo fiends will notice is that Sweet Frog’s cup sizes just make more sense; unlike other stores, the smallest cup isn’t insultingly small and the largest isn’t needlessly big. Either way, you are master of your own destiny when it comes to pricing as it’s all done by weight.
But let’s get to the important parts – the creation and consumption of frozen yoghurt. We decided to see if we really could put together a healthy snack, growing for the low-fat option, with muesli with chocolate and coconut (160gm/28LE) – that’s pretty healthy, right? Unfortunately, the low-fat yoghurt was also low on flavour, having little-to-no discernible taste. Luckily the toppings added the required flavour, but the whole creation lacked the creaminess and subtle sourness of yoghurt.
Deciding to get a little more experimental with our next fro-yo, we went for plain yoghurt and water melon yoghurt together in one cup – yeah, we like to live on the edge – as well as a coffee and chocolate (155gm/26LE). combo, the latter of which were outstanding, especially in tandem, with the sweetness of the chocolate working well the slight bitterness of the coffee The water melon, meanwhile, was excellent, too, so much so that we would recommend trying it by itself.
Generally, at the time of our visit, the toppings station was a little bare in the sweets and chocolate department, but everything in the fruit section was glowing with a noticeable freshness.
All in all, it’s difficult to weigh up these kinds of places next to each other, because few of them really do anything different and rely on being weirder and wackier when it comes to the toppings. What Sweet Frog does deviate with to a certain extent, is the types of fro-yo offered – just to reiterate, the water melon is fantastic.