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Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
Di'macaron: Bite-Sized Macaroons at Citystars, Heliopolis
With the latest food fads fading in and out of Cairo's eclectic cafe and dessert scene, we were fairly unsurprised to discover the opening of Di'macaron at Heliopolis' Citystars. Specialising solely in the little, circular pieces of heaven – otherwise known as macaroons – their small booth sits in the walkway between Zara and Mango.
The soothing colours of their geometric logo contrast against the otherwise minimalist colour scheme and being in the middle of the busy mall, predictably, no seating is offered. The glass display cabinet shows off a variety of eight different flavours, ready to be packaged in an assortment of attractive gift boxes. Cute, tiny boxes of two (12LE), boxes holding eight (40LE), boxes of 20 (100LE) and boxes of 40 (200LE) are available. At the time of our visit, a promotional discount was running on the two largest options. Also on display was a large pyramid of macaroons, implying that they can also cater for large parties.
We opted for a box of eight covering one of each of the asic flavours; strawberry, chocolate, date, vanilla, caramel, pistachio, blueberry and coffee. Each biscuit was smaller than those generally offered by well-known competitors, as well as having overly soft outer shells which lacked the usual crunch. Despite this, each macaroon was deliciously fresh, with a modest amount of gooey filling.
The vanilla and pistachio choices were particularly subtle in their flavouring, as was the bright pink strawberry option. On the other hand, the chocolate was milky and rich whilst the coffee was authentically bitter and bitterly authentic. Despite the obvious artificial colouring and flavouring, the blueberry was one of the most interesting. The caramel was deliciously sweet, and the date flavour tasted as though it had been made with real fruit.
Although not exceptional, Di'macaron serve up fresh and tasty variations of the sought after dessert. This, along with a charming appearance and attractive gift boxes makes for a safe option when shopping for macaroons – and only macaroons.
With Brew & Chew satisfying the cravings of Maadi residents, and Dip n Dip spreading their fantastic desserts in New Cairo, Nasr City and 6 of October City, the sweet-toothed of Zamalek can be forgiven for feeling a little neglected – that is until now. Chocolate by name, chocolaty by nature, Joe’s Chocolate Bar on Taha Hussein Street could be the answer to every chocaholic’s dreams.
As a venue, Joe’s Chocolate Bar is divided into two floors; the top floor has nothing remarkable about it but allows smoking, while the ground floor is where the ‘chocolate is. Besides the melted chocolate-like decoration on the wall (which is installed upside down, so instead looks like chocolate waves) the calm lighting and wood walls create a relaxing and cosy ambiance to the place.
The items on the menu are limited and nothing grabbed our attention, but we opted for the Molten Chocolate Cake (47LE), Triple Chocolate Crepe (41LE) and their new special item – as the waiter was so keen to mention – Oreo Waffle (49LE).
The molten chocolate cake had a bold chocolate flavour and a very moist texture; the gooey centre had a fantastic pudding-like consistency, which shows that it was cooked to perfection and, overall, the dessert had a spot-on sweetness. On the other hand, we would have preferred that the ice cream was served separately, because the hot temperature of cake melted it quickly and made the top of the cake rather soggy.
The triple chocolate crepe was just as good, meanwhile; coming as three thin, light and fluffy triangular servings, each one was filled with a generous amount of melted milk chocolate, and drizzled with white, milk, and dark chocolate. We also asked for fruit (10LE) on the side which consists of mini cubes of kiwi, bananas, and strawberries, and it was surprisingly fresh even though it’s not strawberry season yet.
As for the Oreo waffle, we expected nothing more than a waffle with crushed Oreo on top, but, impressively, the waffle itself had an actual layer of Oreo in the middle. Despite the waffles needing a little more milk chocolate on top and being a bit chewy, they were largely soft with a slightly crispy exterior, and the flavour of the Oreo popped in every single bite.
Joe’s Chocolate Bar definitely impressed with their well-executed desserts and big flavours, but we felt that the variety on the menu is too safe and a bit limited for a dessert specialist. We’d very happily come back for the molten chocolate cake, though.