Winter is almost over and won’t be back for another year, so it’s time to make the most it. And what better way of doing it than wrapping yourself in that favourite winter jacket and taking a spin around the city to eat the yummiest things in town? If you are visiting Kolkata, you should definitely sample these things we have listed here. You may or may not have heard of all of them, but you bet these will fill your heart (and tummy) with immense satisfaction!
1. Saldanha Bakery cakes
Their cakes remind you of mom’s freshly baked goodies. They are straight off the oven and delicious, and the moment you take a bite you know that the Saldanhas don’t compromise on the quality of ingredients they use. You can see for yourself if you visit the bakery on Nawab Abdur Rahman Street off Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road. Saldanha cakes have been around in Kolkata for 80 years now, and every year, especially around Christmas and New Year, people queue up at the bakery and/or place their orders over phone to get some of the best rich fruit, walnut, plain cakes in town. Denzil Saldanha, who is now 82, his wife Mona, their daughter Debra Alexander and her daughter Alisha run the bakery (and there is no fancy shop attached to it, people just visit the bakery to pick up the cakes/collect orders they have placed over phone). Don’t miss the Saldanha cakes if you are in Kolkata this winter!
2. Freshly made pork sausages from Chaman’s Pork Shop
For those who are heartbroken for having to give up sausages, salami etc. after reading about the possible harmful effects of processed frozen meat, there might be something to cheer about. What if the sausages you are buying are prepared right in front of you? That’s exactly what Chaman’s Pork Shop — a tiny shop in a lone corner of Park Circus market — does! They prepare the sausages right in front of their customers and according to the customers’ specifications if there are such requests. Ingredients used include milk, eggs, minced meat (pork and chicken), onions and some of their “secret” masalas. Just bring the sausages home, boil them for about twenty minutes or so, cool them, refrigerate and eat at your convenience.
3. Home made wine from Bow Barracks
If you love wine, then you must try out the home made wine prepared at Bow Barracks in Kolkata. The women from this Anglo-Indian hub on Bow Street of Bowbazar who have been living here for generations, prepare ginger and grape wine at home all the year round, and this is the perfect time to try them out if you wish to remain soaked in festive spirits.
4. Cake-mishti from Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick
Is it a cake? Is it a mishti? Enjoy the delightful confusion as this tricky little piece of cake-mishti melts in your mouth, leaving behind the fruity and nutty bits. There is milk, cinnamon, dried fruits and nuts in this tiny enigma. Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick, the century old sweet shop that has conducted several successful experiments with Bengali sweets over the past few years, has come up with this curious mix of sweet and cake for the Christmas season. But worry not, it is available on order throughout the year.
5. Baklava from Nahoum & Sons
Kolkata’s last Jewish bakery is renowned for its Christmas cakes. There are such long, serpentine queues outside Nahoum in New Market in the week leading up to Christmas, that the shop closes one of its gates, allowing customers to enter the store from only one side. Don’t be surprised if there are fisticuffs among customers trying to maintain their cool, waiting to reach the counter for their turn to buy cakes. However, not many know how delicious Nahoum’s baklava is. The rich, sweet pastry made with layers of chopped nuts, along with honey, syrup, cinnamon, makes this such a delight. Taste it this time around!
6. Nalen gur er roshomundi’r payesh from Mrityunjay Ghosh and Sons
This sweet shop on Sarat Bose Road is renowned for its cauliflower-stuffed singara. But their date syrup roshomundi’r payesh — small roshogolla-like balls dipped in milk thickened with fresh date syrup — is outstanding.