The crowds have yet to flock to the Oasis Centre’s newly opened Gourmet Station, but it’s only a matter of time. While Dubai has a handful of speciality stores, none boasts the incredible culinary selection of this new, fancified deli. On a recent visit Time Out discovered a few kitchen must-haves.
Núñez de Prado organic olive oil
The Núñez family has been making this oil since 1795. While most olive oils are pressed, allowing mills to squeeze a kilo’s worth of oil from 5kg of olives, Núñez de Prado’s oil is made from crushed olives. The oil is allowed to drip into collecting vats naturally, requiring 11kg of olives to produce a kilo of oil. It is not an oil you cook with, it is an oil you drizzle. This multi-award winning product is renowned in the gourmet world for its sweet, grassy finish – a taste so pure it’s a waste to cloud it with heavy flavours.
As any Italian chef will tell you, freshly made pasta beats the dry kind any day. But making pasta from scratch can be a chore. Enter Pasta Regina, the company run by Italian-born Dubai resident Stefano Brocca. Brocca supplies many of Dubai’s five-star hotels with his homemade pasta, and he even runs his own restaurant, Stefano’s, in the Marina Walk. Now, he’s selling his pasta to the public. The pasta may be made in Dubai, but it’s produced from flour and bottled water imported from Italy.
Cornish Sea Salt
The sea water in Cornwall is incredibly pure, meaning that these flaky salt crystals (thin shards that melt on the tongue) have a fresh, clear taste absent in other salts. Also, Cornish Sea Salt retains more than 60 naturally occurring trace elements, giving it a rich, mineral flavour that makes meat sing.
125g, Dhs13. 225g, Dhs27, 500grams, Dhs54. Gourmet Station, Oasis Centre (04 515 4050). Open Sun-Thu 8am-10pm; Fri-Sat 8am-11pm.
The Dubai Mall
On the lower level of The Dubai Mall sits a handful of exquisite gourmet shops. We did the rounds, and discovered that surprisingly some things are best made in Dubai.
Forrey & Galland macaroons
The brainchild of two French chocolatiers, all the products at Forrey & Galland (a revival of a renowned, but defunct Parisian label) are handmade. The rich chocolates and airy macaroons (among the best we’ve ever tasted) are produced in the UAE, and the boutique in The Dubai Mall is the brand’s first and only retail outlet. There is nothing artificial about the flavours present in these macaroons, and they are so light they nearly float. Pistachio macaroons come with a creamy, fresh interior, and are followed up nicely with a rose macaroon, which comes imbedded with crushed rose petals.
Forrey & Galland, The Dubai Mall (04 339 8850). Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Sat 10am-12 midnight, Dhs420 per kg.
Cocoa Sampaka’s Major Cacao Origins
The Barcelona-based chocolate company is one of the few that is involved in every part of the chocolate-making process, from selecting the cocoa bean through to manufacturing the product. As a result, Cocoa Sampaka understands the nuances of the different beans, and brings its understanding to the consumer in the form of the Major Cacao Origins collection, which assembles chocolates from the main chocolate producing countries in the world, including Venezuela, Grenada and the Ivory Coast.
Cocoa Sampaka, The Dubai Mall (04 434 1427). Open 8.30am-12 midnight daily. One box of 16 pieces, Dhs50.
In order to stay fresh, Galler has introduced a new, fun chocolate concept. Kaori is a sort of culinary calligraphy set, with several chocolate sticks representing a calligraphy brush and ink in the form of three flavoured pots (strawberry and balsamic, saffron and yuzu, for instance). Go ahead, make your tongue that blank canvas.
Galler, The Dubai Mall (04 339 9604). Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Sat 10am-12 midnight. One box, Dhs150. Other location: Wafi City (04 327 3120).
Mall of the Emirates
This family-run gelateria is easy to miss, tucked away behind the Mall of the Emirates in Barsha’s backstreets. But a round-up of high-end gourmet goods would be incomplete without mention of Bacio Gelato. Made without dies or preservatives, this Italian-style ice cream is vibrant and pristine tasting. It may seem strange to dig into a beige pistachio, but rest assured it’s only because pistachios aren’t really green. The ice cream really is delicious, however. Pair a sundae with a cappuccino and eat in, or buy a kilo and bring the gelato back home for an indulgent night in. If you’re really lazy, they also do home delivery.
Bacio Gelato, The Baron building, Al Barsha (04 323 2949). Open Sun-Thu, 7am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-10pm. Half kilo Dhs40, one kilo Dhs70.