Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Sweet on Sweets in Egypt


What's life without dessert? Uh-huh, I thought so. It's no different in Egypt where the sweets are out of this world! This was the beautiful array of sweet-stuff in our hotel's dessert buffet. I didn't know where to start. I hovered for a moment, eyeing everything intently, then I made my selection and hurried back to our table to try my choices.

Yum. Yum. YUM!


Some of the desserts in Egypt I found similar to those in Greece. Especially the Baklawa. Typical Egyptian Baklawa uses sugar syrup or sharbat, which is sometimes flavored with orange blossom water, unlike it's Greek counterpart Baklava, which uses honey. As I love baklava, the Egyptian version (which is sometimes almost identical, sometimes with that elusive hint of orange water) was a fast favorite.

Then there's Konafa/Kunafa which is made of fine wheat shreds, similar in appearance to vermicelli. It's also syrupy-sweet (and that's a good thing!) and filled or topped with nuts.

Basboussa/Basbosa/Basboosa is semolina cake with coconut, soaked in a syrup of honey or sugar syrup, and lemon. It's likewise topped or trimmed with nuts like pistachios or almonds. Like konafa, it is sweet and rich...and very yummy! The hint of coconutty taste is very pleasant. A bit of trivia: boussa means kiss in Arabic...aaaw! :-)

Pictured above is also a slice of a honey and cinnamon sponge cake which was actually very light, nicely spiced, and great to have in between bites of the much sweeter fellow-desserts. There was also some kind of peanut brittle square that for the life of me I could not find out the name of!

Other desserts I had for which I don't have pictures:

Mihallabiya/Mahalabeya - Rosewater flavored milk pudding

Ruz-bel-laban/Ruzz Billaban - Cold rice pudding

We ate most or this, or a combination thereof, every time dessert rolled around, wherever we were. We were hooked!

Note: I have only posted here about desserts with Egyptian origins. I had other desserts as well...everything from fruit tarts to mille-feuille. Let it not be said that I wasn't on vacation! :-)

Another note: If you haven't had enough of the desserts, I'll have more pictures of them on my post about the Nile cruise onboard dining...so stay tuned for that!

19 comments:

RandomFoodLover said...

Wow! An entire blog about foods of the world! Brilliant! Your pictures are lovely, & your descriptions are fascinating. Egypt looks so beautiful... how lucky you are to have been there... (I'm so jealous!)

Just wanted to say hello. :)

Take care & happy blogging,
Angela from England

augustusgloop said...

Yum!

I could totally identify with the 'bedazzlement before the buffet table' feeling! =) And the hurrying back to the table as well...

Mona said...

Ha, had enough desserts? NEVER! Keep the pictures coming Joey. That presentation of desserts (names I can't pronounce or spell) was amazing. I might have to fly to Egypt just for those pastries!

Lori said...

Nope, not enough dessert. Bring it on, Joey!

tattum said...

wow joey! mmm,what lovelly desserts!! did you have them with tea?? or alone? I never have enough of dessert!!So post some more, looking at the pictures doesn't make me fat, so it's great!! Besos

ChichaJo said...

Hi Angela! Thanks for dropping by and for your very nice comments :)

Hi Augustusgloop! Hehe, yes, I was quite confused for a while, darting this way and that...oh boy!

Hi Mona! They were yummy...and I know what it's like to go to unusual lengths for food :)

Hi Lori! Yup, dessert first for you I presume? ;)

Hi Tattum! I had them with coffee (major coffee drinker here)...turkish coffee...which I will be posting about too :)

Paz said...

Sweet!

Keep the photos and food/dessert descriptions coming! I'm so loving this!

Boussa,
Paz

angelika said...

Hi Joey, what a treat ! And as you maybe have found out so far I also have a sweet tooth (or more of them ;-))) Cakes and desserts in my eyes are the best comfort food you can think of. Looking forward to hearing more, all the best from Vienna (which also has a BIG sweet traditon) angelika

The Panda said...

I am even more envious!! Your pics look really good. Bring it on! I wish you could post all (a thousand?) the pics that you took :) Always wanted to go to Egypt since I was in high school but lacked the courage AND permission from my parents. Now that I'm OLD and don't need permission I still lack the courage. I am green with envy!!!!! :)

J said...

hi joey, what a lovely looking spread...the sweet-toothed dream come true!

Patrice said...

Hi Joey! Kakagutom talaga dito :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Paz! Will do! :) Can't take all the credit for the pictures though. Some of them are from my wonderful travelling companions, my dear friend K, and another gypsy, N :)

Hi Angelika! Yes, sweet-stuff have a way of putting me in a better mood too :) As for sweet traditions in Vienna...it's world famous! Something I would love to experience :)

Hi Panda! As above, can't take all the credit for the pics but will pass on your nice words :) As for Egypt, GO! Discover! :)

Hi J! It really was :) YUM!

Hi Patrice! Hehe, I know what you mean...food blogs make me hungry too :)

Loi said...

Ohhhhhhh more fab desserts. I love. And great pix too - what camera do you use Joey?

ChichaJo said...

Hi Loi! Thanks! But can't take all the credit as my dear friend K took the impressive first picture and I just took the darkish-looking plate shot :) Hers is a Canon I think (sorry not much help!) and mine's a Sony 4.0 megapixels Cyber-shot :)

boo_licious said...

Yummy sweets Joey.

Midge said...

Yummers! Middle Eastern sweets are the bomb! Konafa sounds very tempting, Joey. Nigella Lawson positively adores it.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Boo_licious! Yummy stuff indeed :)

Hi Midge! Didn't know Nigella loves Konafa...we have something in common! :)

arnilynne said...

ChichaJo...I LOVE YOUR Breakfast Blog!!!!!

Ran into your site while searching for pix of egyptain sweets...

Its always refreshing to see outgoing and forward minded filipinos who have a zest for life...

Lutong Pinoy is a GREAT place for us folks who need to reconnect to our filipino heritage (and what a better way than thru food?)Pinoy gatherings and good food are Synonymous...

PS: i hope you dont mind me using one of your pictures, i made sure to mention that it was a borrowed image)...

lemme know if you do mind about the picture and i'll take it off...sincerely, @

ChichaJo said...

Hi Arnilynne! Thanks for such a nice comment! :) No problem about the picture...always ok as long as it's credited :) Wow! So you live in Egypt? I had a wonderful time there and loved every moment...thanks for stopping by and hope to see you here again soon! :)