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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.
Operating for just under a year, Bel Gelato has very quickly made itself a favourite in Heliopolis. The light-as-air Italian delicacy, offered in an abundance of flavours at Bel Gelato, has a light, fluffy consistency to differentiate it from conventional ice cream. Whereas ice cream tends to be more on the dense, creamy side, good quality gelato needs to retain an equally rich flavour within a wispier consistency.
Located just off of one of Heliopolis’ most distinctive main streets, Bel Gelato’s huge deep blue sign is hard to miss. The venue itself is not tremendously spacious, with a single table to boast, yet is brightly lit and immaculately polished.
Greeting us with a welcoming smile and a quick chat about the place, our server quickly explained the flavours available during the time of our visit. With both fruity and creamy flavours, Bel Gelato offers upwards of twenty different options to choose from, that come in small (15LE), medium (25LE) and large (30LE) sizes, either in a cup or a cone.
Of the fruit flavours, we found the Tropical Cocktail, Passion Fruit Mango, Wild Strawberries and Cinnamon Green Apple to be the most intriguing, with some of the other peculiur flavours including, Oreo, Pistachio, Hazelnut, Coffee and Jelly Cola - true story.
One of the types that immediately caught our attention, however, was the Carpicof flavour; a blend of pistachio, coffee and caramel that we found a tad too strong in taste, with all the distinctive flavours clashing somewhat.
Finally deciding on a couple of flavours, we went for a small scoop of Tiramisu and another of Stracciatella. The former tasted like a frothier, more frozen version of the traditional Italian dessert, whereas the latter was a blend of cream with crunchy bits of Belgian chocolate. Both were equally as rich in flavour, with minimal sugar and quality ingredients.
Bel Gelato also offers more Italian delicacies than just plain gelato including Bombolone (10LE) - basically the Italian version of a sugar-dusted stuffed donut - as well as Panino Gelato (25LE) - gelato-topped brioche bread - and Italian pie, Crostata (15LE-35LE).
All in all, Bel Gelato was everything we hoped it would be, thanks to its use of quality ingredients, as well as its cheery staff who managed to both be casually friendly and professional at the same time. We’ll definitely be heading back over there to get over whatever is left of our late blooming winter blues.