When there’s Xmas, there has to be cakes. Not the fancy ones we normally prefer round the year, like ‘a little savoury ones’ or the ones lined with exorbitantly priced exotic fruits; but the good old fruit cake. The maximum variation would be plum or chocolate. But get anything fancier, and it will fail miserably at being Christmassy enough.
If you think i am exaggerating, you must make it a point to check out the cake counters of posh hotels and confectioneries, and very rarely will you find one which stocks up on such Plain Janes at other times. But come Xmas, and all their shelves must invariably boast of their special Xmas fruit cake, hogging the display limelight, along with the yule log or the ginger bread house !
Even grocery shops in Calcutta open a makeshift stall to sell fruit cakes of different sizes and shapes, in red and green tin boxes.
Also, the cake mixing ceremony in most posh hotels, is fast becoming a very popular event, rather than remaining a little preparation done by chefs in their kitchens like any other task.
And I think, in this city, the greatest proof of the craze of Xmas fruit cake can be seen at New Market. The queue in front of Nahoum’s seems endless, and their shelves become empty in a blink. Though their medium sized fruit cake loaves, priced at Rs. 250/-, is quite on the expensive side, that doesn’t seem to take a toll on their popularity, even slightly.
But my favourite ones are just a few steps away from Nahoum’s. Those who religiously throng New Market ever so often would know that there’s another lane inside the market, with it’s entrance close to the legendary Nizam’s, lined with smaller bakery outlets selling their time-tested goodies at unbelievably low pprices. They too have an extremely busy season during Xmas. Their fruit cakes, however, adorn their shelves, almost at any time of the year. Some of them also make cookies and one can sample a few before making a buy. I especially like their walnut brownies, which are just amply dense and chocolate-y, loaded with walnuts and not too sweet. I also love the fact that a jumbo brownie still costs a meager 30 bucks. Now that’s reason enough to pay these bakeries a visit and sample some of their offerings!
So what’s your Christmas favourite?
If you are in the beautiful city of Calcutta during winter, you must take a walk through this lane. The vanilla wafting in the air and the warm smiles of the buyers and sellers alike, will surely make your day 🙂.