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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.
The all-American, deep-fried, sugary dessert that is the donut isn't exactly common in Egypt, but sometimes you find yourself yearning for its satisfying taste. Dixie Cream may not be the first or only place to offer them in Cairo, but the American franchise comes with quite a reputation.
Sitting pretty in Downtown Katameya Mall, the shop looks like your traditional colourful donut joint with a bright yellow, white and blue theme. It offers an adequate outdoor seating area for those who want to enjoy their treat at the venue. We, however, wanted to take ours to go and so we went in to take our pick.
The donuts were placed in a large display behind the cashier’s booth which, at the time of our visit, was sadly mostly empty with only a few donuts to flaunt. Our server, however, was quite helpful and cheery, telling us that a fresh-out-the-oven batch was available.
The place offers a variety of appetizing options, including icing, powdered sugar, glazing and stuffing. They also serve cinnamon buns, apple fritters, and brownies.
We opted for three donuts; one with vanilla icing & sprinkles, another with chocolate icing with sprinkles and a chocolate-stuffed donut (all for 13LE each). The waiter immediately aligned them in a to-go box for us and we were on our way, only to discover later that the donuts were stacked over each other making their toppings stick to one another.
The donuts all tasted fresh, sweet and predictably heavy. We thought, however, that they were rather ordinary with no distinctive flavour. The icing, whilst looking pretty, needed a bit of a kick in the taste department; a stronger vanilla flavour and a more unique chocolate flavour would have definitely set them apart. The donuts were still, in the end, quite tasty.
To wrap up, Dixie Cream did definitely satisfy our donut cravings. The donuts were not, however, unique in taste and lacked an element of creativity. In a city where the cupcake still very much rules, Dixie Donuts won't break that particular dessert-monopoly any time soon.