Dubai: National Day remains the most visually celebrated holiday in the country where the presence of red, green, black and white is overwhelming everywhere you go.
Apart from lamp posts and balconies being decorated to mark the occasion, confectionery stores are already developing themes around this occasion to cater to the high demand during this period.
Every year on December 2, Emiratis and expatriates alike embrace the spirit of unity by exchanging gifts and souvenirs depicting the UAE flag, and even more popular recently are artistically designed chocolates, cakes and cupcakes.
Gulf News spoke to three confectionery stores who said that preparations for the ingredients, colours, flavours, decorations and designs begin in advance, since the 45th anniversary of the UAE is an occasion celebrated by all nationalities and the demand for such items increases.
At Boutiqu Le Chocolat, located in City Walk, large-sized handcrafted artisanal chocolate sculptures depicting symbols such as the falcon, the UAE map in the flag colours, the three finger ‘win-victory-love’ salute, among many others are raising a lot of interest.
“To ring in the celebrations for the UAE National Day, we have created some handcrafted, artisanal chocolate sculptures which represent the spirit of this great nation. These sculptures are handcrafted by our chocolate artists and are created at a special workshop on site at the Boutique Le Chocolat in City Walk,” Kareem Faisal, chief retail officer, Meraas, told Gulf News.
These sculptures can take from three days to three weeks to make, he added, depending on the size, scale and the level of intricate details.
The chocolate sculptures are priced depending on the size, hours spent creating them and the level of detail, he explained, and can range from Dh125 to Dh3,500. “Chocolate sculptures have to be preordered at least one week in advance to achieve a degree of finesse in the end result.”
For special occasions such as UAE National Day, Faisal said the store has also created gift hampers.
“We give our customers the option to create their own chocolate bars. Starting at Dh300 for a set of four bars of chocolate, we offer our customers the chance to hyper-personalise their chocolate by selecting the kind of chocolate — from a selection of 12 white, milk and dark chocolate — add their own toppings, and finally design their own, monogrammed wrapping paper,” he said.
Cocosia, a speciality chocolate shop in Al Barsha, is also marking the 45th National Day with some artisanal handmade chocolates.
Chocolates wrapped in the colours of the UAE flag and boxes of various sizes with engraved chocolates depicting themes of the occasion are being prepared.
“For this significant occasion, we are preparing chocolates engraved in different designs such as the number 45, the iconic picture of the union depicting the UAE leaders and the UAE flag,” said Terence Chi, a salesman at the store.
He said the demand for these engraved signature chocolates, which are placed together in a gift box and come in different sizes, go up during this period.
“We see the demand from all nationalities, not only Emiratis. We have boxes of three pieces priced at Dh18 which can be a nice gift to a friend or a family member. Since they are handmade, we are taking many orders from people in advance. Also, a lot of people like to customise a box with their design and flavours to make it more special.”
Officials at Bloomsbury’s, a boutique cafe and artisan bakery in Abu Dhabi, said they had “artistically created 45 unique cakes celebrating life and the National Day. Apart from that, the store has special cupcakes in the colours of the national flag and larger cakes based on the same theme”.
Sajan Alex, vice-president, GCC and India of Tablez Food Company, said the cakes ranged from birthday cakes to graduation and wedding cakes.
“Since 45 cakes had to be ready, the preparation for each began much in advance. The preparation of these cakes takes more than two to three days.”
Cupcakes priced at Dh16 and cakes, he added, are a favourite of everyone, especially during a celebration. “Thematic cakes such as the National Day cupcakes make a good gift to friends visiting or to families gathering for a meal. As mentioned earlier, National Day is celebrated by all nationalities in the UAE; therefore, we don’t just see Emirati families, other nationalities are also being indulgent.”
Bloomsbury’s recently celebrated the 45th National Day with children from the Special Care Centre where the main attraction was the 620 cupcakes assembled in the colours of the National Flag. “We also got the children to pipe their own cupcakes.”