Rarely has anyone visited Egypt and not noted the hospitality of Egyptian people. Egyptians will treat any guest as a member of the family and feed them as though they were eating for two. Naturally, many people like to bring a little something along with them when they are invited to a dinner party – or ‘ozouma – as a thank-you for that hospitality.
Egyptian Streets asked readers what they like to bring along to a ‘ozouma and here is a guide for dinner party gift-giving based on what they said.
Starting with the basics, many said that they like to bring along flowers. This choice is a classic one, and it is a safe one – unless the host or anyone they live with is allergic. However, apart from this particular exception, flowers are aesthetically pleasing, fragrant, inexpensive, and less committal than a piece of décor.
Dessert or chocolate
While this is a choice that works all year round, dessert is a particularly popular choice during Ramadan. Several readers specifically said that they like to bring along oriental desserts such as kunafa and basbousa, two desserts that are always hits both during Ramadan and outside of it. The current season can help in making the choice. For example a summertime dinner party can be the ideal occasion for a fresh mango dessert, as there is nothing quite like Egyptian mango season.
Another classic choice is chocolate. Whether it is a box of assorted chocolates or a brand name bar, it can almost be guaranteed that someone in the house will be a keen chocolate eater.
While it may perhaps take a bit more work than any of the other options, home bakers or cooks, even artists, may want to bring along something they made themselves as a gift. Several readers noted that this shows sincerity and consideration in a way bought items often cannot. Depending on how close the guest is to the host, they can perhaps ask them if there is anything they can make and bring along, otherwise, a homemade dessert or handmade items are likely to be received with much gratitude.
Home décor or appliances
This particularly applies in the case of housewarming parties. If someone is inviting friends or family over for the first time upon moving into a new place, it is a very popular choice to bring along a piece of décor or perhaps an appliance one is sure the host has not already bought for themselves. If one opts for this, it is always a good idea to try to gauge the style of the host’s home before buying anything, unless one is willing to include a gift receipt.
A few readers also said that they occasionally bring along alcoholic beverages, such as a nice bottle of wine, when they are invited to a dinner party, but they specified that this only applies if they know their hosts drink. A very significant portion of the Egyptian population – potentially the majority – do not drink alcohol, especially at home. Therefore it is always good to double check before purchasing alcohol as a gift at a dinner party.
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