Voila has recently opened its doors in the fashionable Star Avenue Mall. Already home to quite a few new faces on the Jeddah Food scene Deera Cafe and Cafe Ceramique to name just two. Voila is another welcome addition.
For chocolate is their game, and as a self-confessed chocaholic, this is right up my street. Voilas website describe it as passionate about chocolate, with an aim to paint the town chocolate! Bold and quirky statements and so it was with high hopes that I set out to visit Voila in the Star Avenue Mall.
First appearances are impressive; this intricately decorated store is filled to the rim with hundreds of items. I had expected chocolate to be the main attraction here, but on entering the shop I realized there was also an enormous selection of baked goods, breads, baguettes, muffins and croissants. All baked daily and ready around 10 am. Arriving at night, I couldnt help feeling I had missed the freshness boat, but not one to be put off, I decided to try the chocolate Viennoise baguette (SR14), and a small brioche (SR5). Before I had time to move on, I was approached by one of Voilas staff, and came the expected spiel about Voila. Not only did I discover that all their chocolate is hand made in Jeddah but that the one hundred and nine varieties of chocolate come in all shapes and sizes. These include more traditional chocolate bars, Rocher balls, hot chocolate mixes, and even chocolate fondue sets!
Whats interesting here is the variety of flavors on offer which is surely a first for Jeddah. If you are at a loss about choosing, allow me to simplify. The chocolate bars are available in thirty flavors and in three main strengths dark, milk and white. These are then infused with various ingredients to create a truly unique flavor. Spices, nuts, flower essences, and fruits are just some of the main categories on offer.
While flavors such as ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, and cherry might not sound too different, camomile, lavender, violet, jasmine, and juniper are certainly not flavors of chocolate I had stumbled across before! Controlling the urge to try them all, I finally decided to settle for four flavors milk honey, dark cardamom, white date, and dark chilli chocolate. Of these I was most impressed with the honey, which was as rich as it was milky. The cardamom was strong and delicious, perfect with an espresso or a small coffee.
As for the chili this was as expected spicy stuff, intense but not overwhelming. The white date was the least impressive; while I could see the small pieces of what must have been the fruit, the taste was sadly missing. Moving to the back of Voila, I noticed a large selection of cakes on offer. The lemon verrine (a layered dessert) caught my attention, and so without too much thought, I decided to try the strawberry, lemon and chocolate. These are roughly SR10 to 13. I also managed to picke up a 200g bag of dark chocolate Rocher, (SR72), and ended my spree with a box of twelve multi-flavored macaroons (SR48), selecting flavors from mango to blueberry. These bright macaroons were great to look at, but a little too sweet for my liking.
Despite the price, the bag of dark chocolate Rocher is an indulgent treat so much so that I have been snacking on them whenever I pass through my kitchen. As for the verrines, these receive mixed reviews. While the chocolate was a little too creamy for me, the cakey pudding beneath was delicious. The strawberry was less impressive a little too watery. The lemon verrine, however, managed to save the day, a clear winner. Its cool simplicity worked to its advantage, a light and smooth mousse with a citrus kick of lemon zest, a pleasure to eat, and incidentally the only non-chocolate dessert I enjoyed. Informed by staff that the Tahlia branch is even larger, and worth a visit, my curiosity took me further to the Millennium Centre, where I discovered Voila has an impressive and fully fledged restaurant in the works, in addition to a coffee shop lounge, a kids cookery school, and a dedicated childrens play area!
Overall, I have to admit the chocolates at Voila are exceptional, I have not stumbled across such variety since I stepped into Hotel Chocolat in England.
However prices arent cheap, so you may want to watch what you pick up. That said, this is no supermarket stuff; ideal for a special occasion, with enough flavors to satisfy even the most particular guests! Theres more at Voila than I can possibly mention in one article; the best way to take it all in is really to see for yourself. So if you have a sweet tooth, and a taste for chocolate…Voila! Tel: 02 6684343 Manager: 0566980268Voila,
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