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Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
Gelateria Roma: Homely Ice-Cream Parlour at Sun City Mall
With chains from leading international brands seeping to the shops, restaurant and cafes in Cairo, this Italian fantasy has appeared in many of the city's popular malls. Located on the 2nd floor, beneath the escalators in Heliopolis' Sun City Mall, Gelateria Roma is the perfect place to stop for a thirst-quenching slushy or a scoop of refreshing ice cream. Specialising in frozen desserts, their natural-tasting products are a great alternative when compared to the synthetic-tasting confections of its competitors.
Built as an eye-catching pink and white kiosk, Gelateria Roma graciously provides two small tables for resting weary legs after long shopping excursions. The small venue doesn't provide the full range of products on offer at its larger branches, but carries all the essential frozen delights nonetheless.
Twelve flavours of ice-cream, sorbet and granita were on offer, including strawberry, lemon, pineapple, chocolate, mastic, pistachio, caramel, vanilla, mango and many more. Combination flavours such as tiramisu and vanilla-caramel were also available. Each scoop costs 8LE and can either be put in a cup or waffle cone. The lemon, berry, mango or strawberry slushies (10LE) continuously rotate in the slush machines, before being served in medium-sized, domed plastic cups.
We decided on a mixed scoop of the caramel-vanilla ice-cream and one lemon slushy. The slushy transpired to be incredibly refreshing, with a tart lemon tang, all the while tasting natural. Fortunately, the ice was very finely crushed and didn't over-dilute the mixture.
The caramel-vanilla ice-cream was a sticky concoction containing miniscule granules of caramel which gave it a curious, sandy texture. The ice-cream itself was incredibly light and creamy without being too dense or sickly. What impressed us the most is how this multinational company manages to mix their ice cream in a way that is reminiscent of local, traditional dessert doyens.
Although it may be hard to differentiate between most dessert corners, Gelateria Roma creates unique tasting treats in a very homely manner; providing a truly charming experience.
Having introduced the Thai style ice cream rolls to Cairo in 2014, Frozzy Twist opened their very first branch at Nasr City was huge success. Just like cupcakes, waffles and crepes, it was no surprise that the concept went on to be copied by so many without adding anything different.
Two years on, Frozzy Twist has opened a Mohandiseen branch on Ahmed Oraby Street – and it was very impressive at the time of our visit. Unlike their usual dark coloured interior, this branch is actually very cheerful, using light pink, green, blue and yellow bricks on the walls, as well as lighting that brings out all of these colours.
From milkshakes and molten chocolate cakes, to cheesecake and endless ice cream roll flavours, the variety has definitely got bigger since our last visit. However, we kept it simple by ordering a medium sized cashew ice cream roll (20LE).
Starting with the cashew, the ice cream attendant (what do you call these guys?) poured some of the ice cream mixture on a freezing cold surface with a handful of salted cashew, which he then smashed using some kind of a trowel until it formed a very thin rectangle-shaped layer. He then slid the trowel from the beginning to the end to form small ice cream rolls.
The sweetness of the ice cream mixture was spot-on and the cashew was perfectly distributed, which ensured the presence of its salty and nutty flavours in almost every single spoon. However, the texture was a bit dense which made it hard to eat with the plastic spoons provided – so much so that we broke two spoons.
We also tried a medium-sized Basbousa ice cream roll (13LE) – yes, basbousa ice cream is a thing. The ice cream and basbousa were merged to create a fantastic chewy, stickycombo, full of mini bits of basbousa. It’s like you’re almost eating cold basbousa with cream, but we have to say that it was a little bit too sweet.
Even though we believe that nothing can beat a simple, classic scoop of ice cream, the best word to describe our visit to Frozzy Twist is ‘fun’. With friendly staff, a great variety of desserts and a cheerful interior, we can easily say that this is their best branch yet!