'This has always been my dream': Authentic Egyptian dessert shop opens in Fairfield

FAIRFIELD — When Khaled H. Khaled was a child growing up in Egypt, he watched as his grandfather and father owned and operated their family business making authentic Egyptian desserts.

From those moments as a youngster, Khaled realized what his life’s dream would be: He wanted to continue the family business. This summer, Khaled’s dream was finally realized as he opened his own store at 1555 Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield, bringing the family business to town and bringing the first Nutcracker to the U.S.

“This has always been my dream,” said Khaled, who also lives in town. “This was my plan.”

Khaled, who has an accounting degree, arrived in the states in 2012. He initially worked at a gas station as well as an Uber driver to make ends meet as he laid the ground work for expanding the family business. Khaled said it was difficult do that work, however, his plan all along was to expand a business that has been the source of desserts in Cairo since 1960.

“I really like this business,” he said.

Khaled’s store brings together a combination of authentic desserts, all of which he makes himself.

The menu at Nutcracker includes various selections of baklava, mini Middle Eastern pastries, several different types of halvah, as well as all things nuts — from traditional pistachios, cashews and almonds to specific and unique flavors.

Khaled also serves fresh brewed Egyptian coffee and select Egyptian juices, such as Egyptian mango juice. The store has a unique selection of chocolates and Middle Eastern dried fruits.

He learned how to make all of these treats by working with his dad.

“I make everything,” Khaled said. “I learned how to make it when I was younger, I worked with my dad in the store in Cairo. When I finished high school and when I finished college and every time there was a summer, I worked with my dad.”

Khaled said since he opened his business a couple months ago, the Fairfield community has embraced him and welcomed him. He is working to build his regular clientele and introduce as many people as possible to his Egyptian culture.

“It has been very good,” Khaled said. “The people have been really good. Everybody likes the store and everybody is friendly.”

“They have given me so much support,” he added. “This area is a good area. I live here and I know this area. I know the people here too and they’re very good people.”

Nutcracker is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., with the store closing earlier at 8 p.m. on Sundays.