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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Patchi: Sophisticated Chocolate Gifts in Zamalek
As an easy solution to avoid showing up to an occasion empty-handed, one should never forget the simple and classic gesture of giving a box of chocolates- and not just any chocolates. Go down to a trusted chocolatier and personally select the chocolates, choose nuts or crispy bits, plain chocolate or sugar free, make an event out of it.
A well known chocolatier in Cairo is of Lebanese origin, Patchi in Zamalek can be found on a corner at the intersection of Taha Hussien and Marashly Streets. Overall a bright shop, the floor to ceiling glass exterior and clean lighting are crisp and to the point.
They don’t have a menu to select from, which would have made the experience more engaging. To buy a box, they have a choice of Delux, Delice and Classic assortments bought by the kilo and range from 175LE to 275LE. There are also sugar free chocolates, candied almonds (dragée) and chocolate sets for children with the prices between 80LE and150 LE.
Patchi chocolates are certainly enjoyable with a variety of additions such as croquant, wafers, hazelnut cream and rice crisps in dark milk and white chocolates, all dressed in different shades of silver, bronze and gold wrappers. The croquant crunches in a pleasing way, without being too sweet; the hazelnut cream has an added crunch and really does melt in your mouth. They make their chocolates without added preservatives or artificial flavouring; a likely reason for their ongoing success. At the time of our visit, the 'specials’ were cheesecake and cornflake chocolates and were part of the larger and most expensive group at 275LE a kilo.
Patchi also sells quite a selection of house accessories. Glass vases, heavy ashtrays and handmade boxes, all filled with chocolate, are between 500LE and1000LE, while a set of 24K gold serving trays range between 800LE and1000LE. They seem to be known for their arrangements and have a specific section for baby showers with boxes being sold as high as 1000LE- for just chocolate.
If you find yourself stuck on what to get someone, whether it’s a get well present or a celebratory one, always remember the convenience of a box of chocolates and that like Forrest Gump; most people appreciate them. Patchi is probably one of the more preferred options and rightly so. The quality chocolates are consistently good and dependable, and their arrangements are quite sophisticated. Perhaps a more frequent change of the ’specials’ would liven up the selection, as would an informative menu.
Gift Carnival has a variety of wrappers, bows, ribbons and such to make gifts as festive as possible and prices range according to size and amount of supplies used. . While they had a lot of plain balloons, the occasion-specific ones were out of stock, although you can also grab some helium balloons (8LE each). Gift bags are also available in surplus, with prices ranging about 10LE. Celebratory cards (12LE) are offered in great variety, many of which were simple and appealing, without being too tacky or fussy.
Apart from gift accessories, you may also find the gift itself while roaming the shop. A definite highlight, and one of the nicest items we’ve seen around, were porcelain travel mugs (100LE) in a range of vibrant colours and patterns.
The shop also carries lightweight storage pieces - essentially a straw chest of drawers - at a very steep price of 790LE; single baskets are also available, most useful for storing small items and knickknacks. Interestingly, the Gift Carnival had quite the selection of scarves claiming to be Burberry and Gucci, at 100LE to 150LE.
Other household items include candles; a large one was discounted from 260LE to 130LE, while scented candles come at a much more reasonable price between 20LE and 40LE. Gift Carnival also has a range of kitchen utensils such as egg whiskers, cheese graters, cheese knives and vegetable peelers – all around 20LE each.
If you’re looking to decorate your Christmas tree, the shop also has a bunch of tree ornaments available. Though not very exciting or unique, a box of large round ornaments, with two per packet, costs 25LE.
The knickknacks are endless at Gift Carnival. Louis Vuitton inspired lighters, refrigerator magnets, decorative boxes, pillows, stuffed animals, there appears to be no restricted theme.
If you’re looking to wrap a gift or buy a helium balloon than Gift Carnival is likely a good stop.