Treat yourself at these dreamy dessert spots across Saudi Arabia

Indulge yourself with a selection of the finest desserts the country has to offer. (Shutterstock)
Updated 06 December 2017

Treat yourself at these dreamy dessert spots across Saudi Arabia

DAMMAM: We are firm believers in the popular saying “dessert does not go to the stomach, it goes straight to the heart.” Well, not quite to the heart, but science does explain an amazing occurrence that happens when dessert is served.
In an article titled “why you always have room for dessert,” written for the Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association, senior researcher Arnold Berstad and assistant doctor Jørgen Valeur explain that sugar in sweet food stimulates a reflex that expands your stomach. After consuming a large meal, sugar stimulates the walls of the upper section of the stomach and this relaxation reflex makes room for more food. It is a phenomenon known in popular culture as the “dessert stomach.”
With science on our side, we set out to scout the best dessert cafés and bakeries around the country. So, the next time you find yourself dreaming of dessert, check out these places and rest assured that your dessert stomach has you covered!
French Bakery: This café offers a wide array of pastries, cakes and ice-cream flavors, making it impossible to pick just one item from the dessert display. On your next visit, try the triple-chocolate cake made of creamy, white filling and dark chocolate bavarois layered with a light sponge cake. Or, you can choose the classic opera cake, with layers of delicate almond biscuit, chocolate ganache, coffee buttercream and a chocolate glaze.
This restaurant has outlets in Riyadh and Alkhobar.
Madeleine: Apart from the delicious French-influenced cuisine, this cafe serves a selection of desserts that has loyal customers coming back for more. If, like us, you are up for dessert any time, a must-try are the fluffy pancakes layered with dreamy cream and served with a tart berry coulis. Other Madeleine specials include the bread Nutella pudding and the berry tart.
This restaurant has outlets in Riyadh and Alkhobar.
Café Bateel: Café Bateel is renowned for its gourmet meals, chocolates and dates. Another offering that has locals coming back are the Arabic-fusion desserts. The classic British sticky toffee pudding is given an Arabian twist and is served as a date pudding drenched in hot, sticky date sauce with vanilla ice-cream — it is an explosion of flavors.
This restaurant has several outlets in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar.

SN Café: If you are tired of the same old macaroons or the Nutella-over-everything trend, you should head to the SN Café for a fix of inventive food. Apart from innovative dry ice beverages, the café serves concoctions, such as the “Bloody Chocolate Fall” — a dessert platter laden with chocolate cake, crumble and vanilla ice-cream, with a stream of raspberry coulis and chocolate sauce trickled over it.
This restaurant is located in Alkhobar.

Dipndip: if your regular dessert indulgence is taking a toll on your pocket, then this should be your new go-to chocolate café. The pocket-friendly dessert eatery serves crepes, waffles and other desserts, all served with rich chocolate — it is a scent that is enough to entice you into the café. Our favorites are the “Brownies and Mousse Verrine,” chunks of brownies topped with dark chocolate mousse and white chocolate-whipped ganache, and the “Brownie crepe,” which is filled with brownies and doused in their signature chocolate.
This restaurant has several outlets in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar.

Rosette Café: Visiting this place is like visiting a candy store, you just cannot settle on one dessert as everything looks so good. With its unique presentation, the special coffee is a favorite and the perfect accompaniment to your sweet treat. Try the saffron cake, a soft sponge seeped in a milky mixture that melts in your mouth. Or the “Cloud 9” cake, a masterpiece assembled by layering chocolate cake, cotton candy, crunchy cereal and warm chocolate sauce over each other. Surely this is for the child in you?
This restaurant has an outlet in Alkhobar.
Mom’s Flavor: If you are seeking some of life’s simpler pleasures, try Mom’s Flavor for fresh, hot-out-of-the-oven cakes and desserts. In the comfort of Mom’s dining room — replete with homey décor and cozy settees — sit back and enjoy decadent, comforting cakes and pastries. The “Lotus Volcano” is best described as a cross between a muffin, pancake and soufflé, oozing with Lotus Biscoff spread and salted caramel sauce. It is a match made in heaven!
This restaurant has outlets Riyadh and Alkhobar.
Pastel Café: Soaking in the Parisian-chic ambience, treat yourself to dainty desserts at the Pastel Café and Boutique. A word of caution, however, do not let the dainty serving sizes fool you, they pack a punch in every bite. If you do not believe us, try the brownie bites that ooze caramel and sea salt. If you would rather spoil yourself with a thick slice of cake, try the “Caramel Crunch” cake topped with caramel popcorn or the “Hawaiian” cake — chocolate cake sandwiched between layers of coconut shavings. If you are some Middle Eastern treats, try the decadent pistachio-and chocolate-layered cake with rose-flavoured buttercream or the fragrant cardamom and saffron cake.
This restaurant has outlets in Riyadh and Alkhobar.

Take a healthy approach to the issue of nutritional supplements

Updated 21 April 2018

Take a healthy approach to the issue of nutritional supplements

JEDDAH: There is a growing need for dietary supplements in Saudi Arabia, given the increasing popularity of junk food and the effective role supplements can play in treating diseases caused by mineral and vitamin deficiencies.

A recent study found that 22 percent of Saudi people take nutritional supplements. It is no surprise, then, that many Saudi businesses have forged partnerships with international dietary-supplement companies.

Dr. Rowaidah Idriss, a Saudi dietitian with a Ph.D. in nutrition, said dietary supplements can be defined as substances that provide the human body with a nutrient missing from a person’s regular diet. However, she stressed that they are not intended to replace healthy eating.

She also warned against taking them without first talking to a doctor or dietitian, as some products can have side effects, especially if taken before surgery or with other medicines. 

“They can also cause problems if someone has a history of certain health issues,” she added.

A blood test can determine which nutrients we are not getting enough of in our diet, and therefore which supplements might be beneficial. Nutritional supplements are also used to help treat certain health conditions. 

“Vitamin C, for example, is often used to reduce cold symptoms,” said Idriss. “Fish oil is taken to lower elevated blood triglycerides.”

She suggested four daily essentials that can bridge nutritional gaps in our diet: a multivitamin, vitamin D, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. 

“I routinely recommend a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement to my clients after consulting with their doctors,” she said. 

“For menstruating women, who require 18 milligrams of iron each day, a daily supplement helps boost iron intake.”

She said people over the age of 50 are advised to take a multivitamin to ensure they are getting enough B12, which plays a key role in the functioning of the nervous system and the development of red blood cells. 

“Older adults are more vulnerable to B12 deficiency because they are more likely to have decreased production of stomach acid, which is needed to release B12 from the proteins in food.” said Idriss. 

“It is also a good idea to take a daily multivitamin if one is following a low-calorie diet.”

She also pointed out that a high intake of DHA and EPA, the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, are linked with a lower risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. A deficiency of DHA might also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. 

“A daily intake of 1,000 milligrams of both DHA and EPA is equivalent to eating 12 ounces of salmon a week,” said Idriss.

The dietitian believes that the Saudis who take food supplements often do so more to benefit their appearance than their health. 

“Saudi women consume more dietary supplements than other people in Saudi Arabia,” she said. 

“They do so either to lose weight or to care for their hair and nails. Bodybuilders also take large amounts of supplements.”

However, both groups, according to Idriss, tend to take supplements on the recommendation of friends and trainers, not doctors. 

She warned that commercials and social-media rumors can persuade people to buy supplements online that may not be approved as safe by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, and advised people to get as much of their daily nutrient needs as possible from healthy eating.

Dr. Rowaidah Idriss

“Along with vitamins and minerals, a healthy diet provides fiber and hundreds of protective phytochemicals, something a supplement cannot do,” she said, adding that the body absorbs natural food more effectively than supplements.

In addition, combining supplements with medications can have dangerous, even life-threatening, effects. 

“Drugs for heart disease and depression, treatments for organ transplants, and birth-control pills are less effective when taken with herbal supplements,” she said.

“Taking an anticoagulant, aspirin, and a vitamin E supplement together may increase the potential for internal bleeding or even stroke.”


Natural sources

With the spread of fast-food restaurants and their alluring ads, the long-term health of the Saudi people is in danger, as children and young people snub natural sources of nutrients, such as fruit and vegetables. 

“This can lead to many deficiency diseases. Moreover, vegetarians can develop similar illnesses due to the absence of meat in their diet,” she said.
Dr. Ashraf Ameer, a family-medicine consultant, said the importance of nutritional supplements lies in treating mineral and vitamin deficiency, especially for pregnant women, growing children, diabetics, people with chronic diseases, and the elderly. 

“However, these products should come from reliable companies and meet Saudi food and drug requirements,”he added.

Mohammed Yaseen, who has a food supplements business, said his company works with a leading British health-care company to provide the Saudi market with high quality products.

“With this we hope we can contribute to the national transformation program by raising private-sector spending in health care from 25 percent to 35 percent, which in turn would lead to the sector’s financial sustainability and boost economic and social development in the Kingdom,” Yaseen said.


Vitamin Terms

DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid. EPA stands for eicosapentaenoic acid.  Phytochemical is a biologically active compound found in plants.