Brainstorming for our Ramadan dessert index this year, we thought about comparing it to the Big Mac Index, and having our own "Atayef’" index.
Introduced by the Economist back in 1986, the Big Mac Index is an informal way of measuring purchasing power parity between two currencies.
Our Atayef’ index, while less complicated, uses the famous Egyptian dessert to identify the price-range of the best and the most delicious shops in Cairo. Our index will guide you to a beautiful after-iftar dessert experience.
We have concluded there are two main reasons why people buy sweets in Ramadan. The first would be the fact that the sweets–which you rarely see on any other occasion–are inviting to the eye and send pulses of pleasure to the tummy.
The second reason is to avoid the horrified looks on family and friends' faces when you show up for iftar empty handed.
To avoid these dirty looks and to enjoy the mouth-watering desserts, here is a list to help you find the best Ramadan delights in town. While the variations of Ramadan delicacies are the same everywhere, these places are trusted to deliver you the best quality sweets, in addition to unique touches added to stand out in the holy month:.
Known for their delicious ice-cream and lovely dessert all year round, al-Abd is one of the most famous–and most affordable–pastry shops around Cairo. With its two locations downtown, the place is central and great for a quick, yet pleasant, dessert pick-up. Al-Abd has an extensive oriental menu for the month of Ramadan, but the guest star is the atayef, sold for LE32 per kilo if filled with nuts, or for the extremely affordable price of LE24 per kilo if stuffed with cream. Don’t forget to pick some soabea zainab and balah al-sham from the famous place as well.
25 Talat Harb Street, Downtown.
02-23924407 – 010-6044401.
The biggest pastry franchise in Egypt, with over 27 branches around Cairo and Alexandria, La Poire is famous for its scrumptuous cakes such as the Black Forest and the Mille-feuille. Its branches, however, receive a Ramadan renovation yearly, giving them a traditional oriental flavor.
Aysh saraya is one of the highlights of this year on La Poire’s menu, with the prices of atayef ranging between LE38 per kilo for the cream atayef and 45LE for the nutty version.
50 Mossadak Street, Dokki.
24 Wadi al-Neel street, Maadi.
1 America al-Latineya Street, Garden City.
Le Carnaval was the honorable winner of the "Best Konafa" title last year, as they invented the fruit-filled konafa and managed to gain many costumers thanks to their revolutionary ways. The pastry shop is trying to keep its title this year and managed to keep the quality of their desserts in line with customers’ expectations. Their trademark inventions, however, are copied by most pastry shops now.
The atayef at Le Carnaval is the most expensive around town, as they sell it by piece rather than per kilo. The price ranges from LE10 to LE15 per piece, depending on the stuffing. Mostly, the stuffing is fruit, chocolate, cream or nuts, or two of the four combined.
Heliopolis branch: 1 al-Saada Street.
02-22565599 – 012-2288907
Dokki branch: 48 Micheal Bakhom Street, Dokki.
02-33388902 – 02-37486319.
Al-Bohsoli is a famous Lebanese pastry shop that has two branches in Cairo. The place became famous after poet Ahmed Shouqi wrote a poem for it comparing the taste of the sweets to the touch of the gentle Lebanese kiss–perhaps the first form of "product placement" in the Arab world. The place sells oriental desserts all year round but becomes a destination for Lebanese and shami delights in the Ramadan season.
The nuts atayef is for LE34, while the cream atayef is for LE30. The atayef however, is not the best al-Bohsoli can offer; many different shami konafas, including konafa nabulsia and the raw atayef made with cream and dipped in honey are to die for.
Mohandessin branch: 36A al-Batal Ahmed Abdul-Aziz Street.
Dokki branch: 49 Mossadak Street, Dokki.
L’Amandine boasts some of the most interesting inventions among this Ramadan’s sweets. With konafa tarts, konafa mille-feuille and konafa sable, the place has managed to earn itself a spot on the holy month's sweets map. The amazing mixture of the monafa—mille-feuille and mango-flavored cream–is a unique and well-received iftar present. The dish is, however, on the expensive side, as it costs LE12 per piece which is only enough for one person. The nut atayef is for LE67 while the cream atayef is for LE51.
Dokki branch: 12 Midan al-Massaha.