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Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Bread Basket: Fresh Pastries & Bread in Maadi
Located in a distinctively competitive area in Maadi, across from Metro Market and the Parisian-inspired La Gourmandise on Road 9, Bread Basket has still managed to cling to its long held position as a popular provider for Maadi's daily bread and carbohydrate cravings.
Taking up a teeny-tiny space on the 1st floor of a residential building, Bread Basket efficiently manages to make the most of the little space it has.
At the counter they display all their sweets and treats, which include such favourites as Danish pastries and brownies; both moderately priced at 5LE. Although the menu claims they serve a large selection of morning pastries – including a raisin Danish, an apple Danish and a chocolate Danish – only the pudding Danish was available when we visited. The pudding Danish was perfectly sweetened with a perfect pudding-to-bread ratio, making the pastry enjoyable and easy to eat.
At 2LE-3LE cheaper than the gateaux at The Bakery Shop, they make a good option if you want to buy morning pastries in large numbers. Even after the filling pudding Danish, we decided that an additional sugar fix couldn't hurt and went for a brownie. The brownies are sold in individually wrapped pieces and were chocolaty with a distinct butter taste. However, it was not as rich or moist as you would expect; it tasted only slightly better than store bought ones, which was disappointing.
Behind the counter are shelves reserved for the baked bread, which comes in a multitude of varieties including grain baguette (31LE), multigrain loaf (20LE), raisin bread (14.50LE), sesame rolls (1.25LE) and cheese rolls (2.50LE). However, despite having over 20 different kinds of bread listed on their menu, only about six were available that day.
We tried the brown multigrain bread, which was coated with a sprinkle of grains. Crunchy on the outside and very moist and soft on the inside, it hit the spot. However, since this bread does not come in the pre-packaged plastic sleeves that keep it fresh, make sure you have a place to store your bread or you risk it becoming stale before you have even finished.
Shopping at Bread Basket is an experience; the bakery is cosy and smells wonderful. But the selections are limited and if you don't come early then it's likely they will be out of some of the more popular staples by noon.
Spicing up Konafa with brand new fresh and creative fillings has become a common Ramadan trend in all the pastry shops and bakeries across Cairo – think of it as this generation’s contribution to Ramadan tradition. We’ve seen the infamous Nutella infused konafa, the viral red velvet and konafa topped with meringue, dates and fresh cream – the list goes on.
There’s certainly plenty out there, but experience has shown us that not all of these Frankenstein creations work;which is why we were thrilled with how heavenly – yes, heavenly – Tortina’s Mango Konafa turned out to be.
Paying a visit to Tortina’s Maadi branch, we were immediately struck by the succulent selection of crisp, amber-colour konafa dishes with more toppings and fillings than the mind can comprehend.
Tortina’s konafa specialties include Konafa Mars Cheesecake, Black Forest Konafa, Nutella-layered Konafa Bowl and a rather tempting Strawberry and Cream filled Crispy Konafa.
One of the pleasant staff members recommended the Mango Panna Cotta pyrex (210LE) – Tortina’s signature dessert dish this Ramadan comprising of konafa, fresh cream, Panna Cotta and fresh mangoes. Naturally we dared not say no, because, well, you try saying no that.
While the combination of konafa with cream and/or mango is one of the more widely accepted of these Ramadan variations, this one had one intriguing addition; mango flavoured panna cotta.
So, here’s how it goes; a layer of fresh cream anchors the creation, which is topped by a layer of fresh mangoes; on top of that is the konafa, while on top of that, is the panna cotta. While panna cotta’s jelly-like consistency may not be the first thing you’d want to pair with konafa, the whole thing works. So fresh, so smooth and so flavourful, the panna cotta instantly melted in our mouths, though, overall, the dessert needed a few more mango slices.
In addition to konafa, Tortina also offers a wide selection of traditional Egyptian sweets and desserts, including basbousa and katayef available in different sizes and prices— 55LE for small platters, 65LE for medium sized ones and 75LE for bigger platters.
Many bemoan these kooky twists on traditional favourites and few execute them as well as Tortina has this year. They haven’t simply bunged a load of ingredients on a konafa; these creations have been though through, they’ve been crafted and, maybe most importantly, they’re unique.