The holy month of Ramadan is a time when oriental sweets are devoured like one would eat popcorn whilst watching a film. After fasting for sixteen hours, people will more often than not overcompensate for the lack of food with delicious sugary treats. Pâtisserie shops around Cairo will be buzzing with customers, either purchasing sweets and cakes for themselves or for friends and family who have invited them over for iftar.
La Poire is a high-end French pastry chain in Egypt. During Ramadan oriental sweets are sold like hot cakes. This Ramadan I decided to buy La Poire’s oriental sweets in a tin container.
Not much of a sweet-tooth person, the main reason I was drawn to the tin was that of how pretty the stripes and colors looked. I could use this tin container when the sweets have finished, I thought with excitement. (And of course my family will appreciate the sweet treat; so a win for everyone.)
It’s a medium-sized container with 1 kilogram each of four different oriental sweets, weighing a total of 3 kilograms. This is a pre-packed container, so customers will not have the chance to choose which sweets they would like to include or exclude. In pastry shops across Egypt, it is quite normal to make your own assortment of sweets that are placed in a round cardboard tray.
Most of these oriental sweets contain nuts and lots of syrup. They have a crunchy exterior and a nutty, syrupy interior. They are calorie-packed. Oriental sweets are best served with tea. I will usually have one sweet with a cup of milky tea after the spiritual night prayers at the mosque. This container contains Konafa, the round sweets in the middle with nuts; white and red Basboosa with almonds, and white Golash.
My favorite, the crunchy white Baklava or sweet Golash, is not as syrupy as it should be, but my blood sugar levels aren’t complaining. In my honest opinion, I have tasted better in other pastry shops, especially ones with a specialty in oriental sweets.
The Advantages to Buying the Tin Container from La Poire:
They’re pre-packed– convenient if you’re in a rush and can’t wait for one to be specially assembled for you;
you can use the container after the sweets are finished;
it looks pretty as a gift.
The Disadvantages of Buying the Tin Container from La Poire:
At 245 Egyptian pounds, this is an expensive treat;
You can assemble your own cardboard tray with the sweets you like and the quantity you want at a much lower price at most pastry shops. With this container, you’re stuck with what they have given you;
Because they are pre-packed, it’s not clear whether the sweets are freshly made or a few days old;
You may not have any use for the tin container; while you can dispose of cardboard trays with a peace of mind;
Although the container is 1 item, the receipt at La Poire will list 3 items with the price next to each kilogram – so they are selling you the sweets per kilogram. The Konafa is 125 Egyptian pounds; the Basboosa is 45 Egyptian pounds, and the Konafa with nuts is 75 Egyptian pounds. This was confusing. I had to ask them to explain why there were 3 items on the receipt when I had only bought one item. I later understood that this was a breakdown of the items in the box. But to avoid confusion and thinking one has been short-changed, I think this could have been written in a clearer way on the receipt.
Ramadan may look like the month of gorging on food and not the month of abstaining from it, but there are people who will use it as an opportunity to elevate their spirituality with God and exercise self-control, which is what the holy month is all about. This includes avoiding inducing oneself with a food coma when surrounded with a buffet of delicious food and sweets, no matter how hard the temptation.
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