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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Soufflé: Zamalek Sweet Spot
A good neighbour is always available to lend you a cup of sugar. On the island of Zamalek, sweet shop Soufflé knows what being a good neighbour is all about.
While some sweet shops specialise in oriental treats, ice cream or chocolate cake; Soufflé has it all. The large shop is packed with several coolers, a central counter and shelf-lined walls all loaded with sugary delights.
One section of baskets is brimming with bite-sized goodies of both the oriental and western persuasion. Tiny, crunchy tartlets filled with cashews, little chocolate-covered sandwich cookies and petite shortbreads with gooey apricot centres are just a few of the mini-treats in this section. Sold by weight, you can mix a bunch of your favourites for a tasty and colourful cookie platter at 70LE per kilo. For bite-sized savoury snacks, take a peek behind the gateau counter, where a slew of breadsticks and crackers in varying shapes with seeded toppings go for 26LE to 30LE per kilo.
The centre of the shop is devoted to a high counter, where traditional oriental sweets are on display. Soufflé’s selection includes traditional basbousa for 30LE per kilo– expect to pay more for the crunchy nut toppings– and konafa stuffed with pistachio for 140LE.
A refrigerated display of Soufflé’s cakes and tarts showcases the shop’s gourmet side. A number of beautifully designed cakes are available, including one covered with glistening peaches (120LE). Even better is the counter just next to this cooler, where chic single servings of a variety of cakes and tarts are sold.
One in particular features a double layered crunchy crust beneath a decadently rich layer of thick chocolate mousse which is topped with a combed design of dark and milk chocolate sauce. Another delightful option had a spongy white cake base topped with mounds of pastry cream and finished with pineapple, peach and kiwi. The sweetest part about these desserts is the price. At 9LE per piece, these gourmet treats are as nice on your wallet as they are on your tongue.Soufflé delivers to the Zamalek, Mohandiseen and Dokki neighbourhoods, and although they don’t cater; they do have a nice selection of dyed, fruit-shaped marzipan and lots of chocolates and candies in elegant wrappers that would make excellent favours for a party or a wedding.
And while there isn’t a single soufflé to be found in the store, their selection is so sweet that we barely notice the misdirection.
It’s definitely hard to keep impressing after being around for quite some time, but Nola somehow seems to be constantly on top of its game. If it isn’t a new branch popping up, it’s some new creation; they always have some kind of surprise up their sleeve for us.
Located in Cairo Festival City Mall, Nola’s newest branch boasts its signature Mint-dominated colour scheme and whimsical, Alice-In-Wonderland-Like interior. With huge cupcake displays to the left and an adequate seating area consisting of white, floral chairs and tables to the right, the place feels quite cosy yet chic. The dangling chandelier and bright lighting of the place also add a nice touch, as well as the blackboard with the menu sprawled on it in colourful chalk.
Walking in and taking a quick look at the cupcake displays, we were greeted by one of the two servers present at the time. Friendly, informative and quite amicable, he helped us choose flavours that best suited our mood.
Offering cupcakes (8.5-14 LE) in all imaginable flavours, Nola doesn’t stop at that, with several flavours of Cronuts (12-15 LE), as well as Cheesecake Cups (14-15 LE) available. The cupcakes are also offered in three sizes: regular, mini (31.5 LE/7 pieces) and grand.
Opting for quite a mixture of the regular-sized cupcakes, we went for the Pralines N’ Cream (13 LE), Red Velvet (10.5 LE), Chocolate Peanut Butter (12 LE), Chocolate (12 LE) and Blueberry (10 LE) ones. Our verdict? All of them, without an exception, tasted fresh, creamy and absolutely lip-smacking. Our favourites, however, were the Pralines N’ Cream and the Chocolate Peanut Butter, whose frostings were unbelievably decadent.
In a nutshell, being one of the main initiators of the cupcake trend in Egypt, Nola is definitely held on a pedestal when it comes to us always expecting the best of the best from them. Judging by the lovely staff, the breath-taking design of the place and the undeniable freshness of the cupcakes, Nola both met and exceeded our expectations.