Last week after savouring shawarma at Baba Salem and enjoying tea at the Tea Corner in Qurum, our party gained entrée to a sweetshop across from the Qurum Commercial Complex to satiate the sugary pangs as none of us believe in curbing.
We entered below the flickering fluorescent sign that simply read “Iranian Sweets,” to find a beautiful shop filled with a staggering display of colourful treats. We stared at all the lush, gooey varieties set safely behind glass, arousing our interest even more.
The manager cum confectioner cum patissier, Hamid Mosayebi, entered and explained that the shop had just opened in August 2015, and the Isfahan native began leading us down a sweet trail, explaining each specialty and giving us samples of the delectable assortment to taste. Hamid’s love affair with sweets is much older than the shop: he had his own bakery 10 years ago in Isfahan and hails from a family of sweet makers. Now, after five years in Muscat, he is certain that his confections will tantalise the tastebuds of residents here.
We learned from Foad Mottahed, a consultant who helped to set up the shop, that Hamid and his all-Iranian kitchen crew make their desserts using only authentic recipes and genuine ingredients imported from Iran, including the saffron, ghee, and a special, sweetened, zero-fat fresh cream, which is used in what I consider to be the highlights of this sweet mélange.
The prepared-daily puff pastry and cream delights include ‘Noon Khami’ profiterole choux filled with cream, ‘Latifa’ macroons sandwiched with fresh cream, and ‘Chocolate with fresh cream,’ all priced at OMR5.500 per kilo.
Beyond the cream-filled specialties, the shop also offers saffron with pistachio ice-cream at OMR4.000 a kilo in the form of sandwiches or plain scoops, and various platters of Iranian cookies. ‘Nokochi,’ are made with special chickpeas, saffron, dried nuts, cinnamon, and pure ghee and start at OMR4.500; lush Baklawa made with Iranian ghee and flour sells for OMR5.000, and Pashmak, chocolate-coated cookies that save well, start at OMR3.000.
Asked which one was his personal favourite, Hamid pointed towards the Nargil Marzipan coconut macrons. “It’s desiccated coconut with egg yolk and saffron...perfectly sweet in taste,” he said dreamily as he handed us Iranian saffron tea with rose water.
We sipped our tea and took in the rainbow of exotic cakes that talented bakers create in various flavours and shapes for OMR10 a kilo before carrying our goodies outside to the patio. We nibbled and laughed in the cool night air, enjoying our unexpectedly sweet slice of Isfahan right here in Oman.