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Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Salé Sucré: Maadi Sweets and Treats
Sweet shop Salé Sucré has many venues in Cairo, including Mohandiseen and Roxy. Maadi’s side street branch is aesthetically pleasing while offering a range of delectable cookies, cakes and oriental sweets. With large glass windows displaying sleek cases of tantalising sweets, you can’t go wrong.
While Cairo suffers no shortage of good bakeries full of tempting cakes and yummy biscuits, Salé Sucré has something of a neighbourhood cult following. Upon entering, the smell of freshly baked sweets rushes to meet you as you browse through the wonderland of baked goods. There is a wide variety of cakes in the left-hand side display case, from rich black forest cakes with decorative cherries and chocolate shavings to creamy cheese cakes with brightly coloured berry glazes, in addition to fruit and chocolate concoctions. Prices range between 50LE and upwards of 200LE for a special occasion cake.
The central display case carries every cookie, petit-four and tartlet that you could dream of in a variety of bright colours. You can buy chocolate and walnut petit-fours, date cake or berry tartlets by the kilo, which should cost around 60LE to 100LE. You can either hand-pick the selection yourself or choose a ready-made selection of flaky biscuits, chocolaty petit-fours or fruit and custard tartlets.
While the shop is dominated by miniature sweets, large cakes and sweet breads, a section of the counter is also stocked with savoury pastries, cheese and mini-deli sandwiches. These are also sold by the kilo, with an average of 60LE per kilo.
With Ramadan upon us, patrons can find all their favourite Ramadan desserts here, starting from a 1/4 kilo box. The oriental sweets are artfully arranged on tall silver platters, including the basbousa, which is the perfect blend of sweetness, konafa of every kind, and sticky pastries with both nuts and cream.
The prices are quite reasonable: a kilo of petit-fours and mini-cakes starting at about 80LE, and 1/4 kilo oriental sweets starting at 35LE. For the divine taste and sugar rush that Sale Sucré induces; this is not a bad deal. The service is great; the staff are spot on with orders and eager to help you choose from the baked delicacies on display.
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.