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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.
Bakeries are in no short supply around Cairo and while roaming the streets of Heliopolis, we came across a city favourite - Dukes. With its slick black and white facade and reputation for delicious dirt cakes, it was time to drop in and see how the years have treated this venue.
Upon entry, we found a large glass display of colourful selection of gateaux, dirt cakes, tarts, macaroons and giant cupcakes. Additionally, Dukes also serves soups, salads, sandwiches, vegetable casseroles, pasta and main courses, alongside bread, mini pizzas and other baked goodies.
After much contemplation, we opted for the Black Forest Gateaux (15LE), Chocolate Dirt Cake (25LE), Charlotte Gateaux (15LE), and a Mini Smoked Salmon Cake (12LE). The only table at the venue was occupied, so we took our orders to go.
The Mini Smoked Salmon Cakes were pretty simple and was layered in thin white bread with salmon paste in between, and covered entirely with smoked salmon slices. While the portion was tiny in comparison to its price, the fresh salmon and surprisingly flavourful salmon paste wa quite a treat.
The Black Forest, a rectangular cake with multiple layers of chocolate topped with whipped cream, had a satisfying amount of chocolate, but the excessive cream overpowered everything and made things quite messy. We recommend the Chocolate Dirt Cake to true chocoholics instead. The combination of moist chocolate and thin layered cake was the highlight; we only wish the decorative flowers on top were edible as well.
The Charlotte Chateaux, meanwhile, was a fruity masterpiece, consisting of a creamy cheesecake filling, topped with slices of strawberries, and engulfed in a pink sugar icing that holds it all together. The flavours complement each other perfectly into a delicious piece of gateaux.
Unable to try anything else in fear of a sugar coma, we stopped there. Dukes is definitely one of the top patisseries in town thanks to its huge andcreative menu; it’s a shame there isn’t any space to enjoy the food there, though.