Christmas has always been synonymous with four things for me – Santa Claus, Christmas tree, marzipan and plum cake. I do not remember a single Christmas which went by without buying those colourful sweets from Cheron or The American Express Bakery.
I have always seen many more things present at these places, but never thought of trying any of them. Just a few days back, I decided to explore the huge variety of Christmas sweets available. Sweets beyond my favorite marzipan and the plum cake. One fine breezy morning, I abandoned my car, and began to explore the tiny lanes of Bandra, on foot. I came across a few interesting people, and a few interesting sweets.
I started my hunt with this small cafe, Mavs Cakes and Bakes, located on Waroda road. With two tables outside, and a few bean bags inside, this place boasted of a massive Christmas special menu. The owner was busy in the Christmas preparations and a batch of the rum balls had just been prepared.
Rum balls are, rum infused brownie balls, a perfect treat for adults on Christmas. These ones were sugar coated and filled with a good quantity of chopped walnuts. This is one of the best alcohol infused bakery products that I have ever gorged on. They were bursting with the flavor of rum. I so regret buying only two of them.
MAVS CAKES AND BAKES,
My next stop was Ken-Mary’s. I had found this place on Zomato earlier, but never visited it before. It is a small bakery selling rolls, burgers, cakes and much more. During Christmas they bake these special wine, plum and rum cakes.
Wine cake is another traditional chocolate cake eaten on Christmas. Usually red wine is used in the making. This one was undoubtedly the softest and fluffiest cake I have ever eaten. It is less sweet. It is so light, that after eating an entire loaf, I still feel as if I have not eaten anything.
The weather was so pleasant and I kept walking around. Next I spotted a general store with a table of sweets outside. The sweets were very colourful. But the thing that grabbed my attention was the box of Guava cheese. The owner, very enthusiastically, told me how he prepares these sweets every year. He also briefed me with the story of the old man who was going to get burnt on the 31st.
Guava cheese is a traditional Goan delicacy. It is a fudge like sweet rich in Vitamin C. These cubes were really delicious. They were made of fresh guavas and was moderate in sweetness. They tasted just like the fruit. As the owner rightfully said, “Once you eat one, you would not want to stop.”
CARDOZ GENERAL STORE,
116, BAZAAR ROAD,
After the guava cheese, I directly headed towards St Chapel road. I have several times seen this small house, with a table on the outside, selling something. The owners were really sweet and gave me background information about their products.
Kulkuls are made all over India during Christmas. They are, small sized sweet snacks, made of flour, sugar and butter. They are deep fried and often coated with sugar. These ones were really tasty. They were less sweet and not oily at all. Once I began eating them, I just could not leave them alone. Remember to store them in an air tight container.
A SMALL HOUSE,
NEVRI AND COCONUT BOLINHA
I was somewhat done with those tiny lanes. There was no other interesting, small little, shop left. That’s when I decided to come to the main road. Here, I found two tables set up, selling a massive variety of sweets.
Nevri is another popular dish from Goa. It is prepared even during Ganesh Chaturthi. They are sweet dumplings often made of maida, and stuffed with coconut, sugar, cardamom and almonds. These ones were definitely without the latter two. They were crisp on the outside and stuffed with coconut. Eating even one of it was really a task.
Bolinhas are quite similar to the previous one. They are baked cookies stuffed with coconut and flavored with cardamoms. They are also crisp on the outside and once you bite through them, coconut is all that you find. In terms of taste, they are quite similar to nevries. When it comes to shape, they are totally different.
I spent a good two hours, on foot, exploring these shops and interacting with their owners. My personal favorite, however, was the rum ball. I hope I haven’t missed any interesting sweet. If so, I shall run to get them right now.
PUBLISHED BY AKSHAY LALCHANDANI
Writer | Intense Foodie | Explorer