It is going to be a very long wait for you if you are planning to buy your kahk (traditional Ramadan sweet cakes) from Mandarine Koueider. But it once the kahk is served with a nice big pot of tea, you would know that it was a worthwhile exercise in patience, especially if you are shopping at the patisserie on Baghdad Street in Heliopolis.
And if you absolutely want to make the best out of the wait then you may wish to give priority in your shopping to the kahk filled with date paste, because they make it like no one else does.
The range of kahk prices is from LE70 to LE100. And you can buy an independent tin box to arrange your selection carefully and make sure that it is kept well to serve to your guests.
You can never go wrong with La Poire when it comes to kahk and petit four. But it is especially the ghouraiybah that La Poire is certain to impress you with; it is tiny enough, rich enough and smells so nice that you may get way overboard.
But don’t worry about getting tummy burn — not with the ghouraiybah of La Poire .
A kilo of ghouraiyba from La Poire is around LE100. And if you are looking for a wider selection than you may confidently opt for one of the readily packed tin box selections. The colours of the tin boxes is so beautiful they are bound to catch your eyes, coming with around 1.5 kilogrammes of assorted kahk, ghouraiybah and petit four.
It might not be the tiniest, super tasty kahk that you could ever buy, but it is certainly so fresh that is easy to buy, even from a Bisco Misr booth in large supermarkets.
But this is not the first thing that a typical kahk connoisseur would think of when it comes to the Bisco Misr tightly packed carton box, each weighing one kilo and each with a distinct color for each type: red for plain; yellow for kahk filled with agamiya (a honey-based paste); blue for kahk filled with lokoum; light brown for kahk filled with walnuts; green for kahk with pistachio filling; and dark brown for kahk with date filling.
The plus that Bisco Misr offers to its kahk addicts is that the box is not sold with the powder sugar readily spread. The powder sugar comes in separate sachets — two to each box — to allow atypical kahk lovers who dread the powder sugar to enjoy the freshly baked items.
The Bisco Misr ghouraiyba is average and Bisco Misr cookies are below average.
What is really well above average is the selection of biscuits Bisco Misr has been offering for years: plain, orange flavoured, and with coco.
And of course the unmistakable plus of Bisco Misr is that it remains largely affordable, with the box of plain kahk — one of the best —at less than LE60.
Bisco Misr is also offering a tin box of assorted kahk, ghouraiyba and biscuits, weighing two kilos.
Also available at big supermarkets in carton boxes, each weighing a kilo, is the kahk of El-Abd, one of the oldest traditional Egyptian sweets patisseries.
El-Abd is also selling its products from booths in several big shopping malls. Kahk El-Abd is also sold with the powder sugar on the side, in sachets.
The kahk with walnut filling and the orange-flavoured biscuits are perhaps among the top 10 of El-Abd. They are sold at around LE70 and LE45 per kilo.
If you are going to put up with the long wait at any of Les Dames' bakeries-patisseries then you cannot be missing out on their petit four, especially the ones with chocolate recipes.
After all, this is how Les Dames established its name when it first opened 30 years ago. The variety of sable at Les Dames is always so inviting, with a kilo ranging around LE80, depending on the exact choice you are making.
At almost half the price, if you are not a keen for petit four, the biscuits of Les Dames are almost exactly as good, at less than LE50 per kilo. The variety of kahk and ghouraiybah ranges from LE80 to LE100.
Looking for the best-baked kahk in town? Your destination is Simonds. The recipe might be ordinary, but the baking is certainly perfect, and for a true kahk addict, the bake counts for a lot.
The nice tin boxes of Simonds (you may not easily find the glorious red tin box that you have been buying for years) are a plus because they are made exactly in the right proportions to keep these perfectly baked delights in the right shape and texture for a few weeks.
For around LE200 you can get a two-kilo tin box filled with a variety of kahk, ghouraiybah and petit four. There is also the larger size of the five-kilo box, for around double the price.
Of course you don’t have to go for the ready-to-sell assortis; the assistants at Simonds stores are exceptionally fast and clever in helping you to arrange your own box.
Missing the diverse variety of kahk, biscuits, ghouraiybah and petit four, then you need to do your shopping at Tseppas. And they are actually probably using the same recipe your grandmother used, or even your mother’s grandmother, given that they have been in town since 1912.
Tseppas is not selling by kilo, but per "packet": a tiny plastic container that accommodates around 200 grams of each item.
The plastic containers are very neatly placed on top of one another in the reliable carton boxes of Tseppas. A two-kilo assortment could be around LE300.
You may wish to give the largest portion of your selection to the incredibly good biscuits Tseppas produces, whose smell alone is as good as their taste.
They are sold in small — really small, as in less than 250 gram portions — colourful boxes that are already packed for you pick up or by kilo in elegant black boxes with the brand marked in pink.
And you can buy them in a variety of traditional recipes — kahk with agamiya (honey-based paste) and ghouraiybah with pistachios, or in the ultra-modern variety: plain kahk topped with chocolate spread or red velvet icing.
Whichever way you go, you will find the kahk fresh, nicely packed, and never heavy. If you are not keen on the large cookies festivity and you just want to observe the tradition, then you can simply go pick up two of the small boxes of biscuits — plain or with nuts — for a little over LE50.
This would be good to serve with tea for visits of the first day of the feast.
It is perhaps at the patisserie of Sedra where one would find the largest selection of petit four and biscuits, both in traditional recipes and in innovative mixes.
The most fashionable items of the small confectionery are the ones with berry jams, and yes, of course, red velvet icing.
A kilo of the ‘luxe’ variety of Sedra’s petit fours comes in at a little over LE100.
Alain le Notre
It comes across as a place where you would eat a nice croissant with a cafe latte, but Alain le Notre manages to always customise French patisserie techniques to fit the Egyptian taste for feast delights.
It might be the ability to harness the mix of butter and flour that is cross-cuisine, especially when it comes to the baking of petit four and the like.
The selection of Alain le Notre for petit four, ghouraiybah and kahk is not very wide, unlike other patisseries, but it is really good. Of the three, it is the ghouraiybah that rates first, with petit four and kahk sharing the second position equally.
Alain le Notre clients get to have a taste of each in an assortment fitted nicely in brown baskets, and a two-kilo basket is available for around LE200.