Decadent Desserts Delight Kuwait

September 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO

“Life is uncertain.  Eat dessert first.”  ~Ernestine Ulmer

cupcakeDozens of cupcakes topped with miles of whipped frosting and dusted with colorful sprinkles, rich cheesecakes drenched with luscious berry sauce and towering parfaits topped with plenty of fruit and whipped cream. These are just a few of the decadent desserts available in bakery shops and restaurant menus all over Kuwait.

It used to be that traditional Arab desserts like Roz Bil Hilab, which is rice pudding topped with pistachios, or Kunafa, which is crunchy vermicelli noodles filled with sweet cream, were the perfect sweet ending to a meal. However, things have changed drastically in Kuwait and the dessert menu could not be sweeter.

Many blame it on the cupcake craze that took over America and soon the UK nearly a decade ago. The same fanatical food fad also invaded Kuwait and dug in its heels, thus never leaving. Today, cupcakes are sold just about anywhere people congregate such as food kiosks strategically stationed near recreational facilities and even school cafeterias. The love affair with cupcakes in Kuwait is so fervent that a handful of young Kuwaiti fashion designers recently designed an entire clothing line around the miniscule calorie-laden treats.

Once the cupcake craze grew to the gargantuan proportions that is today, businessmen in the Kuwaiti food industry became more proactive in providing other delectable western sweets to tempt the palates, and wallets, of the unsuspecting populous of the country. The result has been nothing short of miraculous, albeit a bit scary. Some of the most popular desserts that are currently challenging the cupcake in Kuwait today include pastel-hued French macarons and designer chocolate chip cookies larger than a human head.

Restaurants and businesses aren’t the only ones capitalizing on the dessert boom in Kuwait.  Hostesses all over the country are making a name for themselves based on the desserts they serve at their gatherings and dinner parties. Some simply pick up parcels of desserts at local bakeries, however others are whipping up their own concoctions right in the kitchen. A slew of dessert-themed recipe books and cooking shows have inundated Kuwait over the past few years giving momentum to a dessert obsession that simply will not die.

The downside to the decadent dessert initiative in Kuwait is, obviously, the sugar and calories. According to a 2010 report released by the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 74% of the Kuwaiti population is overweight and 14% have already developed diabetes. The WHO predicts that those figures will rise unless individuals make more healthful food choices.

13-39

Ramadan: Light Up My Life

August 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO

ramadan2The celebration of Ramadan, in the Middle East region, is a spectacular affair full of worship, fasting and just being kind to your fellow neighbor. Restaurants, cafes and local businesses pull out all of the stops by offering special late night menus and a special dessert menu to tempt just about any palate. While food is a big part of the Ramadan tradition, since the breaking of the fast is one of the great joy’s bestowed upon Muslims by God Almighty, there is also another tradition that continues to grow bigger with each passing year.

The holy season of Ramadan heralds in a whole month full of blessings that fill the Muslim’s heart with joy, from the crack of dawn until the sun makes its serene descent towards the gilded horizon. However, once the sun sets, there is nothing dim about the auspicious nights of Ramadan.  From Cairo to Palestine, tiny lanterns and strands of brightly colored bulbs ensure that the Ramadan nights sparkle. The skies are set aglow with brightly colored lights that either hang effortlessly midair or are manipulated into grandiose shapes in all sizes.

While most Islamic nations in the region do trim city streets with Ramadan fare, there is one tiny municipality that just does it better. In Abu Dhabi, which is a municipality of the United Arab Emirates, the streets are decked out in thousands upon thousands of tiny bulbs. Each year, teams of workers hang and dangle countless numbers of lights, lanterns and decorations all around the municipality. This year is no different, as the Abu Dhabi government shelled out a massive $136,000 to light up parts of the municipality’s infrastructure.

In just over two weeks, workers completed the gargantuan task in record time. Bridges and tunnels around the Corniche serve as the foundation for the elaborate decorations which includes giant stars, golden crescents and “Ramadan Kareem” signs. Heavy-duty cables, that have been inspected and approved by Abu Dhabi authorities, were enlisted to guarantee that the decorations and lanterns hang safely above. The whole undertaking is environmentally friendly as well. Light-Emitting Diodes, or LED lights, have been used to conserve energy. LED lights use an estimated 90% less energy than traditional bulbs and produce less heat which is a vital safety measure in the arid regions of the Middle East. The decorations will remain in place until after the Eid holidays have been celebrated.

13-32