Al Baba Sweets: Arab sweet makers aren’t known for holding back on their sugar, slathering piles of honey onto most pastries. Al Baba Sweets is no exception, with its sugar high-inducing baklava, mammoul and kunufa that come packed full of honey and chopped nuts. All of the sweets are sold in boxes for Dhs75 per kilo. If you feel the need to wash down your sugary sins, sit at one of the tables and sip on a nice cup of tea.
Deira City Centre (04 295 2007). Open 8am-11pm daily. Credit AmEx, MC, V.
Atayeb: Straight out of Time Out’s childhood fantasies, this cocoa-dusted wonderland is the sort of sweet shop that’ll get the kid in you salivating. Delicious bites from Belgium, Lebanon and Germany are stacked up on the front counter just waiting to transport you to sweet-toothed nirvana. Prices are steep (ranging from Dhs140 and Dhs200 per kilo), but trust us, the Swiss truffle will remind you how very good chocolate can taste.
Al Diyafah Street (04 221 2035/www.atayebchocolates.com). Open Sat-Thu 8am-2.30pm, 4pm-10pm; Fri 9.30am-11.30am,4pm-11pm. No credit cards.
Choc and Nuts: This one-stop shop of Middle Eastern and Persian goodies is packed with Iranian almonds, Lebanese pistachios and Egyptian seeds, all for sale by the pound. It’s a long narrow shop with huge open boxes of nuts on the left and sweets from around the world on the right, all waiting to be weighed up by a delightfully old-fashioned set of scales. Kernel colonel Jaffar is more than happy to offer up suggestions and samples.
Baniyas Road, Deira (04 221 2035). Open Sat-Thu 8am-2.30pm, 4pm-11pm; Fri 9am-11.30am, 4pm-11pm. No credit cards.
Chocoa: Combining the best of Western and Eastern sweets, Chocoa’s Belgian chocolate-covered dates and dried apricots are heaped in toothsome piles in the showroom near the Mall of the Emirates. Baskets, boxes, platters and trays are all crammed with delicious treats, which make for excellent, if elaborate, gifts. The milk and dark chocolates are also tasty and come in either solid and toothsome blocks or with a wide variety of fillings. We particularly like the hazelnut chocolates and the pralines, which are smooth and delicious.
Al Barsha, behind Mall of the Emirates (04 340 9092). Open Sat-Thu 10am-12 midnight. Credit AmEx, MC, V.
Jeff de Bruges: Dubai’s chocolate-loving residents openly worship Jeff de Bruges’s scrumptious offerings. With the finest Belgian chocolates on sale this side of Wallonia, Jeff’s de Bruges is chock-full of truffles, marzipan, fruit jellies, ganaches and pralines. It’s a great place for buying gifts for special occasions: their tailor-made wedding gifts are particularly impressive. Yum.
Jumeirah Palm Strip, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 345 3365). Open Sat-Thu 10am-10pm; Fri 4pm-10pm. Credit AmEx, MC, V.
Moka: Moka is heaven for chocolate lovers, stocking mountains of luxury brand Godiva. From gift baskets to golf ball-shaped treats, sweet teeth are spoilt for choice. The glass cabinet houses over 100 variations, from coffee creams to caramels which can be bought by the bucketload or in a Dhs135 box.
Wafi (04 324 1755/www.mokatrade.com). Open Sat-Fri 10am-10pm. Credit AmEx, MC, V.
Munch & Crunch: Munch & Crunch caters to all your nutty needs with their mass of weird and wonderful options. For the traditionalist nut lover, there are the plain cashews and almonds. However, if you are feeling a tad adventurous you can choose from cheese, ketchup or pizza varieties. If you have more of a sweet tooth you could always grab your very own chocolate served in a camel-shaped ashtray.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah (04 368 6622). Open 9.30am-11.30pm daily. No credit cards. Other location: Deira (04 228 5905).
Patchi: Favoured by UAE nationals for its selection of high quality products, Patchi, a Lebanese brand, is undoubtedly the Elie Saab of chocolates. The wondrous chocs are grouped into ‘classic’ and ‘deluxe’ ranges; both splendidly toothsome. In the former category try the perfetto with raisins, orange and hazelnuts. Chocoholics of a more adventurous bent will also appreciate the cocoa-dusted chocolate espresso beans (Dhs60), pistachios and raisins. Patchi also sells a huge quantity of vases, dolls, cutlery, and gaudy gift sets replete with teddy bears. For a chocolate quick fix, they’ll also let you pick ‘n’ mix from the counter. Can’t say fairer than that.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah (04 368 6101/www.patchi.com). Open 10am-10pm daily. Credit AmEx, MC, V. Other locations: Mercato (04 349 1188); Wafi (04 324 4030).
Sweety Sweets: This Indian sweet shop is packed with paralysingly sweet titbits and spicy delights. Feel your nostrils prickle at the chilli-laced air and get lost in the rows of papads (mini popadoms), pickles, puri, vada pav (spicy fried potato) and ever-present Bombay-mix. Be sure to try the methi-chakli – the crispy, fenugreek-flavoured fried rice flour is the most addictive snack thinkable.
Al Musallah Road, Bur Dubai (04 397 1380). Open Sat-Thu 9am-1.30pm, 4.30-10.30pm; Fri 9.30-11pm. No credit cards.
Vivel Patisserie: This international patisserie stocks rich French truffles, imported strawberry macaroons, Arabian, Persian and European sweets, and some top-notch coffee. But when it comes to tasting Scandinavian candy, it’s truly in a league of its own. Those with an adventurous palate might be tempted to try Djungelvral from Sweden (salt liquorice) or the fiery Tyrkisk Peber (extra hot liquorice) from Finland. You can also buy tiny, perfectly sculpted cookies by the kilo – delicious.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah (04 368 6006/www.vivel.com). Open Sat-Thu 10am-11pm; Fri 12 noon-11pm. Credit MC, V. Other locations: Deira (04 295 7005); Jumeirah (04 344 3232).