Sukar Ramadan is the first expo of its kind: a Ramadan-dedicated sweets and confectioneries exposition that has brought together bakery suppliers, fledgling companies, distributors, and catering businesses interested in the sweets industry all under one roof. This Ramadan, each of these companies has something unique to offer.
The expo itself has a very whimsical feel this year with dim, violet lighting illuminating the event, located at the ground level of 360 Mall in Kuwait. Booth representatives walk around greeting attendees with Arabic coffee in one hand and traditional sweets in the other. The best part of the expo? Samples. Free samples everywhere.
At the expo, one of the biggest trends we noticed was how companies seem to be going back to more traditional, Ramadan-inspired roots. Companies giving their treats a homemade, classic feel are playing off of feelings of familiarity and comfort. Knafat Jeddi (in English, “My Grandfather’s Kanafa”) and Sukar Wizyada are two companies looking to invoke that feeling of familiarity.
When the founders of Sukar Wizyada first launched their business two months ago, it was to fill a niche they found missing in Kuwait: more homemade, traditional goodness. Now, the company specializes in traditional Kuwaiti sweets like baqsam, darabeel, luqaimat, sab bil gafsha, ma’moul, and ghuraiba.
“We’ve even given a special twist to riqaq bread by adding za’atar, rahash, cheese, and Nutella chocolate to it,” says Wa’el Al Hamlan, co-founder of Sukar Wizyada. “We’re really excited about Ramadan.”
Other companies are taking a completely different route. The November Bakery, part of the larger November Company establishment, takes its flavor inspiration from tweaking homemade, classic desserts. This Ramadan, the bakery is incorporating exotic Indian flavors instead of taking the traditional Arab route.
“Everyone does the typical thing of dates and rahash, and I personally don’t like those two,” says Bibi Hayat, founder and creative director of the November Company. “So we pushed pistachio, almond water, almonds, walnuts, saffron, and cardamom — more India-inspired tastes.”
But not everyone at the expo is catering to the average sweet tooth. Other booths display utensils such as silverware, trays and cups, while another boasts a flower service. One of the most interesting concepts is My Box, a company completely dedicated to beautiful wooden boxes meant for display or gifting purposes.
What’s more, even the frozen yogurt craze in Kuwait is getting the full Ramadan treatment. This Ramadan, Red Mango is introducing seasonal Vimto and rose water flavored frozen yogurt varieties.
And, it seems like a health-conscious movement is trending. Gluten-free bakery Firin, Diet Care, and Baking Tray Café all have booths at the expo.
Baking Tray Café, a local Kuwaiti restaurant known for its preservative- and additive-free foods, is introducing a whole new menu this Ramadan. Among the new menu items are jareesh, lentil soup and tashreeba, with luqaimat for dessert.
Although the expo is small (we spotted a little more than 20 booths there today), it’s exploding with flavor — it’s practically impossible to leave without having tasted and loved something. What’s even better is it’s open to the public, so we recommend you check it out while you still can!
Sukar Ramadan is taking place from July 12-14 at the ground level of 360 Mall, in the shopping center’s exhibition hall.
— Kawther Albader
Photography: Kawther Albader