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Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Bio Shop: Organic Finds and Home Accessories
If you're anything like this reviewer, there are certain foods and drinks that you simply can’t live without in Cairo. While organic nutrients are not necessarily an easy find in Cairo, there are a few places that cater to our picky palates when full cream milk just doesn't do it for us anymore.
Located in the building complex directly behind Crave in Maadi Degla is the Bio Shop. The shop is rather small and compact but a great place to go to when you're looking for healthy, organic produce. It's definitely a family-owned business and the sales staff have never been anything but friendly and kind.
A little on the cluttered side, it may take you a minute to find what you're looking for. Although their selection of organic products include the typical brands that you can find at Metro or Alfa Market such as Sekem, buying from Bio Shop is not only a pleasant experience; but it also provides an opportunity to help out local producers.
Isis honey and tofu are available, though their selection of tofu varies from one day to the next. Expect to pay up to 45LE for a jar of organic honey and at our time of visit, blocks of tofu started around 20LE.
However, what got us hooked on this shop is the soy milk that the store regularly stocks. Ranging between 12LE to 15LE depending on the brand, the price is unbeatable compared to other groceries. Disappointingly, they never have chocolate soy milk and stick to the basics of vanilla and regular.
Randomly enough, Bio Shop also stocks a range of home accessories and handcrafts. For 7LE to 10LE, bottles of natural oils are available, including lavender and sandalwood, which are great for the skin and hair or even for a fragrance in an oil burner. Ceramic oil burners are also stocked and are a steal for around 20LE a piece.
Our favourite find so far has been a tapestry for 70LE. Zen-inspired and made with hues of dark brown and tan, the 2x2 metre tapestry is well-made and the perfect accessory for a room with high ceilings. Other available handcrafts include wooden tableware, pottery, stationary and more.
Check out the Bio Shop if you're in Maadi, and don't be surprised if you find a product that has you wondering why you've never stopped in before.
We believe that no matter how strict one’s diet is, there will always be a room for a snack. And though the broad sense of the word suggests many deliciously sinful choices, some of them can be equally delicious and healthy; like nuts.
With ‘Leb we Soudany’ being Cairenes’ all-time favourites, a local roastery can be found at every corner. While many of them have a decent range, only a few take it to the next level in offering more than just the basic form of roasted nuts. One of those few places is Abu Auf, which not only offers nuts in all shapes, forms and flavours, but also has a variety of sweets and health-conscious food products.
Over a year ago, we paid the place a visit in Brazil Street branch; despite being impressed by the quality and the quantity of Abu Auf’s products, we couldn’t help but notice how inconveniently small the branch was. So when we came across the other branch that was recently opened in Taha Hussein Street, we weren’t able to resist getting in to see how it looks from inside.
Once we walked in, we noticed how daylight coming from the two large windows complemented the already-delightful interior, with its white walls and wooden shelves. Well-organised, the shop is divided into two compartments.
The first comprises a fridge for raw nuts, and a display for the roasted selection. Four or five pounds more expensive than the raw nuts, Abu Auf boasts a variety of salted and flavoured roasted nuts, from which we opted for BBQ-flavoured almonds (26LE for 100gm), which were fresh, crisp and full of flavour. Not entirely satisfied by the salted pecans (42LE for 100gm), fresh as they were, they were too salty for our liking.
The other compartment had a variety of health-conscious products, Lebanese sweets and a coffee station. In addition to sage tea (17LE per pack), we found different brands of green coffee -ranging from 25LE to 120LE- which is believed to be a supplement for weight loss. And for those who like to replace rice with quinoa, Abu Auf has both red and white quinoa starting from 56LE per pack.
Moving to the shop’s considerably less healthy items; we couldn’t resist trying Abu Auf’s Lebanese sweets. The pistachio malban was outstanding; pleasantly chewy, with a crunch of pistachio here and there. Equally delicious, we found the marzipan exquisite, especially that they added cardamom to it. The only thing we were not big fans of was their costly price, which is 240LE per Kilo, though you can still buy per piece (10LE).
Saving the best for last, we stood in awe in front of the coffee station, where we asked for some medium roast coffee with spices. The shop assistant suggested their best seller, Gold coffee beans (174LE per kilo), whose powerful aroma enticed us to try it as soon as we got home. We can easily say that Abu Auf has the best coffee in town; spicy, dense and refreshing. Now we know where to turn to when we want freshly-ground coffee -in other words, we acquired another expensive habit.
With prices being the only disadvantage of Abu Auf, we fell for Abu Auf’s plan to empty our pockets with its delicious product – we only wanted to see what the new place looked like.