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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.
Opening just over two months ago in Downtown Cairo, D Waffles is already luring in customers with its delightful and sweet spongy desserts. It’s a quite small venue – essentially a kiosk with a few seats, high stools and narrow tables attached to the wall – but from a sweet-toothed Cairene’s perspective, its arrival to Downtown is an exceedingly pleasant one. Here they serve up the warmest, spongiest waffles with a generous choice of tasty toppings and at reasonable prices, too.
The choice of toppings are displayed behind a glass counter and range from marshmallows, flavoured syrups, chocolate chips and crushed biscuits, to a range of fruit, including kiwi, strawberry and blackberries.
During our short wait, the smell of the waffles being cooked was absolutely sensational; they are heated in a special machine and it is possible to watch as the staff decorates it with your choice of toppings.
The most expensive item on the menu, and one of our orders, costs 25LE and consists of one large circular waffle topped with four different toppings of your choice. It’s served up in four slices, like a pizza; one slice was drizzled in warm Nutella and white-chocolate sauce; the second slice was covered with sliced strawberries and drizzled with even more Nutella; while the third was doused in blueberry compote and the fourth was with white chocolate chips and white chocolate sauce. This was by far the best waffle we’ve eaten in some time
We also opted to try the simple waffle with a topping of Nutella only which came in two sizes: the special at 15LE and the regular at 13LE.
In addition, there is a small range of drinks available, all costing 15LE and divided into two varieties: milkshakes or smoothies. The milkshake menu offers Oreo, Twix, Mars Bar or Snickers flavours and are topped with whipped cream and crushed biscuits/chocolate pieces. On the smoothies menu, you can choose from peach, strawberry, banana, mango or cocktail – the latter costing a little more at 18LE. All drink options are quite heavy and are almost a dessert in themselves, particularly the milkshakes which are thick and creamy with a creamy topping you can eat with a spoon.
All-in-all, there’s little to dislike about D Waffles – it delivers what it promises and that in itself is an achievement.