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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.
While everyone is busy with the ice cream rolls trend, freak milkshakes, donut ice cream cones and just generally trying to put any kind of spin on frozen treats, Gelati Azza is one of the few places in Cairo still keeping things on a classic keel.
As a venue, Gelati Azza on Mohandiseen’s Lebanon Square is on the plain side and has no seating, so you’re going to have to take your gelato to-go. The funny part is that there’s no actual ice cream freezer to display the flavours as is the case with modern ice cream aprlours; but there is a Photoshopped poster on the wall showing the five available flavours. Another thing that will make you giggle a little is that the ice cream literally swimming in the deep freezer with no separators or containers – as all the flavours are just kind of melding into each other.
Nevertheless, we opted for a cup of lemon gelato and mango gelato (8LE).Starting with the lemon, it had a perfect dense, soft and elastic texture with intense citrusy flavours. As for the mango gelato, it had a spot-on sweetness and bold mango flavour that made us feel like we’re eating an actual mango. This was definitely the best and most refreshing mango ice cream we’ve had in some time.
We also tried a cup of crema gelato (8LE). We honestly expected that it will taste like your everyday vanilla ice cream, but it was much, much better than that. The crema gelato tasted exactly like a rich and creamy oven baked Mehalabeya – a rich Egyptian custard – and had a softer and less elastic texture than the fruit flavoured ice creams we tried.
Though it’s a little rough around the edges, Gelati Azza reminded us that we have amazing, yet underrated, local brands and shops. The quality of the ice cream is as good as you’ll find in Cairo and the portions are huge compared to its low prices. The selection of flavours might be small, but they’re also classics – so, always remember not to judge gelato by its freezer.