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Downtown, Cairo, Egypt.
Abdel Rahim Koueider: Ice Cream to Die For
Always fresh, these Middle Eastern delicacies range from 30LE to 85LE a kilo, and the ice cream just might make you want to set up camp – sample their chocolate flavour and you won't disagree. But be careful how much you indulge your sweet tooth as you can taste the samna as it glides down your throat and straight towards a coronary.
Located behind an old candy shop style storefront on Talaat Harb Downtown, Koueider is as classic and good – if not better than – any of the famed Parisian patisseries, and conjures visions of a young Madeline licking an ice cream cone in her pea coat.
My favourite of the precision-made treats is the waffle-patterned kunafa with a layer of sweet creamy cheese under immaculate sha'ria and a sprinkling of pistachio nuts on top. Delicious. Still, nothing beats their rich, creamy, chewy – yes, chewy – perfectly sweet and perfectly chocolatey chocolate ice cream. Heaven. Other flavours to try are the date and pistachio, equally delicious.
Not to be confused with the shop in Zamalek, Abdel Rahim Koueider serves up the same sweets as its competitor, but at better quality and value. The shops, with their Syrian heritage, used to be one and the same, but parted ways at some point.
While other branches have been revamped and updated to a more modern café style, the Downtown store has maintained its old-fashioned charm while filling the niche for European colonial sentiment for three generations, and it's enough to satisfy your sweet cravings for a lifetime.
One cannot simply stop eating Haagen Dazs just because it’s winter; especially when it comes to the sweet ice cream bliss that is Haagen Dazs. Craving some luscious top notch scoops, we headed to the Danish ice cream tycoon, Haagen Dazs at Cairo Festival City.
Anyone who abides by the idea that ice cream should be eaten only in summer, clearly doesn't appreciate the concept of ice cream at all – especially when it comes to Haagen Dazs. Though it has had mixed success in Cairo – a Zamalek branch opened and closed pretty quickly – the new branch at Cairo Festival City is awash with people daily.
Given that it is almost always packed with people and the limited space, we were torn between grabbing some ice cream to go or waiting in line for an empty table; we were finally happy to decide the latter, though.
From the Brownie Explosion (45LE) –brownies served with chocolate, cookies and vanilla caramel ice cream— the Haagen Dazs Fondue (125LE) – a house specialty comprised of mini ice cream scoops, molten Belgian chocolate sauce and fruits – and the Belgian Waffle Dream – pralines and cream ice cream drizzled with butterscotch served on a freshly baked waffles (45LE), the revelation that Haagen Dazs’ menu is so much more than ice cream left us overjoyed and excited to try out as many as we could get hands on.
After a lot of thinking, we opted for a mishmash of desserts comprised of Haagen Dazs Salted Caramel Crunch (50LE), a Classic Banana Split (65LE), and finally, Haagen Dazs Signature Apple Pie (34LE).
A parfait-like dessert comprised of two scoops of salted caramel ice cream, infused with wafer, almonds nibs and caramel sauce, Haagen Dazs’ salted caramel crunch was outstanding. With a creamy smooth ice cream flavour, complimented by the wafer cone’s discernible crunch, toasted crushed almonds and a perfect caramel coulis sauce; a masterpiece dessert we will be happy to order over and over again.
Served with our choice of three ice cream scoops –of which we picked banana chocolate brownie, caramel biscuit & cream and mango sorbet – the classic banana split, was another great dessert choice; with the banana chocolate scoop elevating the overall banana flavour, the caramel biscuit scoop working so well with the almond and wafer bits and finally, an extremely refreshing taste coming from the mango sorbet.
Last but not least, and with barely enough room for more, we had a go at Haagen Dazs’ Apple Pie.
A crumbly crust with caramelized apple which had a discernible bite to it, the apple pie was delicious; only it lacked cinnamon flavour. An addition of cookies & vanilla ice cream (19LE), some hazelnut crunch (5LE) and a subtle drizzle of caramel sauce (5LE) –which we had fun improvising – made this classical dessert all the more fantastic.
With a great execution, not to mention a wide variety of dessert on the menu paired with Haagen Dazs’ flavourful and unique ice cream is something that will surely caters for all tastes.