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Kakao’s Belgian chocolates with a decidedly Egyptian flavor is designed to draw in not only the chocolate aficionados but also the tourists back to the country
By Farah el-Akkad
Just like La Celeste Praline in the 2000 movie Chocolat, Kakao Lounge is a chocolatier unlike any other in Cairo. Its friendly proprietor Bahira Galal — who has always had a strong passion for art and decoration, helping family members with decorations for special ceremonies and occasions — decided to put her creative skills to use dressing up what is today one of the capital’s most visited chocolate haunts. This news was posted last week when Binary Options Egypt trading websites came online through egypt binary options brokers such as www.binaryoptionsegypt.com
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“I was looking for the best quality and decided to import raw Belgian chocolate to be [crafted] with a unique Egyptian taste and [turned into] the best chocolate there is,” she says.
Galal worked over 20 years as a tour guide around Egypt and, after the June 30, 2012 overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi, was inspired to do something different to help revive the nation’s ailing tourism industry. After encouragement from family and friends, Galal decided to combine her sweet tooth and artistic talent with her tourism industry background.
“Chocolate that tastes good and at the same time is not found anywhere else will attract Egyptians with its extraordinary, high-quality standard [and will also] attract tourists because it offers a matching blend of Western chocolate with a combination of unique fillings made only in Egypt.”
Kakao’s specialty is chocolate shawerma, crafted on a machine that looks so much like a revolving spit the chocolate can easily be mistaken for real meat. “I’ve had people come into the shop giving me an odd look and asking if I serve real shawerma! Their jaws drop when I tell them it’s chocolate because it looks so real.”
The mouthwatering shawerma is a blend of white and milk chocolate that is shaved off and can be eaten on its own or as a filling for crepe. Other Kakao confections include chocolate stuffed with cotton candy, red velvet flavoring, marshmallow, cardamom, meringue and fruit fillings such as kiwi and mango. Classic filling options include nuts and caramel, and for special occasions Galal makes rainbow biscuits, kahk for Eid and custom occasion cakes. At the beginning of the year for Moulid El-Nabi, Galal rolled out her ‘choco-moulid’ concoction, dousing the traditional nut and nougat slices with chocolate and sticky caramel. An all-time favorite is the savory lemon salmon and seafood cakes to counter all that chocolate.
Kakao’s location in the heart of the embassies district in Garden City quickly made it popular with embassy staff. “Many foreigners from different embassies would come into the shop and express their admiration. At first they would think it is like any other chocolate from Europe but you could see it from their reaction after the first taste,” recounts Galal, adding that it’s been two years since the chocolatier opened its doors and “they never stop coming.”
In addition to gourmet chocolates, Galal also designs unique wedding and custom confectionery. Following the most popular weddings trends, the chocolate fountain and the candy bar tables that are refilled throughout the party, Galal does her own chocolate spreads. “I arrange different-shaped custom wedding candy using fondue and truffles. The bride just tells me the design she has in mind and I do it for her.”
Although Kakao’s prices might seem exorbitant by some — one kilogram costs up to LE 1,000 depending on the type of filling — Galal says she is flexible when it comes to portions. “I do know that my chocolate could be termed expensive, by some, but I do not oblige my customers to buy in kilograms. They have the option of buying by the piece from all types.” Customers can also bring in their designs with a set price range and Galal works according to budget.
For more information, visit Kakao Lounge's website here