Christmas 2021: Chennai, here's our edible gift guide for the holidays
From plum cake in a chocolate bar to an advent calendar made of bonbons, we discovered some deliciously unexpected festive goodies this year
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And with good reason. As always, we have you covered with a well-researched list of Christmas goodies that are deliciously unheard of. From plum cake in a chocolate bar to an advent calendar made of bonbons, we discovered a number of ‘wise men’ and women of course, in bakeshops across Chennai putting a fresh, inspired spin on holiday classics.
Latte us drink!
When it comes to festive drinks for the season, Pumpkin Tales delivers on indulgence laced with
holiday spirit. Look out for mugs of Egg Nog (INR 175), Christmas Spiced Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows (INR 490) and a Pumpkin Spice Caramel Latte (INR 190). We also have an eye on their DIY Cookie and Gingerbread House kits that come with sprinkles and two colours of royal icing for little ones to get creative with. INR 250 and INR 500 respectively.
Baubles of fun
It looks like a Christmas ornament. But pour warm milk over this bright red bauble by Cheers Chocolates and it transforms into silken hot chocolate. The baubles are made with 65 per cent Belgian Couverture Chocolate and filled with vegan marshmallows for a more luxurious experience. INR 610 for three balls. Mimi’s Chocolate Workshop also has edible X’mas ornaments made with milk, white and dark chocolate. Starts at INR 775.
You might have seen an advent calendar. But have you ever come across one made of chocolate? Zitter’s one-of-a-kind countdown to Christmas Day uses a 5x5 grid box with specially designed windows from December 1 to 25, each opening up to a surprise flavour of bonbon. The 25 flavours include Hazelnut Brown Butter, Sicilian Pistachio and Mulled Wine. All the chocolates are eggless and contain no alcohol, and suit adult palates the best. INR 2,000. Made on request.
A plum cake in a chocolate bar — now that’s a first. Kocoatrait certainly knows how to pique our interest by putting an imaginative twist on this festive staple. Expect a single-origin 64 percent vegan dark chocolate bar infused with warm spices (cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg) loaded with apricots, candied cranberries and cherries, black raisins, zesty orange, and topped with roasted almonds. INR 730 for 200 gms.
Old Mercara serves up festive chilled scoops created just for the holiday season. We have to admit, we were intrigued when we heard about their Panettone gelato, inspired by the sweet bread made for the festive season in parts of Europe, Australia and Canada. Loaded with candied ginger, lemon and orange peel along with raisins and black currants, it sounds like Christmas in a bowl. Also new on their menu is their White Christmas Ice Cream made with white chocolate from Belgium and a cream of sour cranberries from France. Roasted coconut flakes with white chocolate rice crisps deliver on pop and crunch. INR 200 per scoop.
Around the world in a slice
The confectionery team at The Park Chennai has a limited edition showstopper this year. After spending days on end researching the most premium ingredients — expect this Plum Cake to have elements from across the world including New Zealand butter, Iranian pistachios, Spanish raisins, Californian prunes and Turkish apricots. The fruits are aged for over a year in the choicest liquor ranging from Remy Martin VSOP Cognac to an Aberlour 16-year Single Malt Whisky and El Ron Prohibido Blended Mexican Rum that lend flavour notes of rich sweetness and tannic spice with accents of caramel and vanilla. The cherry on top? A 24-karat gold leaf that sits pretty and delicate, a hint of the decadence to come in every slice. Only a limited quantity of 12 cakes (one kg each) are on offer, packaged in a custom velvet and satin box. INR 8,999 all inclusive per cake.
Tudors East India plum cake
Like all of the holiday treats on Wholesome Rhapsody’s menu, this plum cake is entirely vegan and gluten-free. We love that it is delivered with a bookmark that takes you on a quick history lesson of Christmas cakes, all the way back to 1390 in medieval England — when a porridge or ‘frumenty’ with oats, spices, alcohol and dried fruits was put together, a predecessor of the popular plum cake that we know and love today. Tudors East India Plum Cake (250 gms for INR 450), an homage to the East India Company’s culinary influence, is inspired by this once medieval porridge with a base of heritage rice varieties Laicha and Acharmati, traditional millets, oats paired with the goodness of plums, prunes, black currants and dates. Also, look out for the King George Stone Love Plum Pudding Jar (200 gms at INR 250) and Rum Balls with Dark Chocolate and activated Roasted Tree Nuts (100 gms at INR 250). Order two days prior. If you prefer whiskey to rum, try Spice and Batter’s Whiskey Truffles made with a single malt scotch infusion. INR 270 for six truffles.
Christmas baking kit
Seeking Roots’ DIY home baking kit might be the next most fun X’mas activity after putting up your tree! Taking the inhibition out of baking for newbies with its curated ingredients and recipe card, while also making for a thoughtful gift — this kit promises festive cheer by bringing your family together in the kitchen first, instead of merely around the dining table. Expect an assortment of dried fruits and nuts, a spice mix, a soaking liquid (with or without alcohol) and a Christmas tree-shaped mould. INR 1,500.
If you’re not a fan of plum cake, then this festive cake might be just up your alley. Legend has it that it was originally made for Mary Queen of Scots in the 16th century, as she didn’t like cherries, which were a staple in fruit cakes even back then. Delish — The Dessert Studio sent us a rendition with cranberries, blueberries, dates and apricots — all soaked in heady spirits alongside spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Named after Dundee in Scotland where it was first prepared, you will be able to distinguish this cake from others by the signature circles of blanched almonds on top. Available on request, with a day’s notice. INR 800 for 450 gms.
Shalini Padmanabhan of The Veganator has developed a plum cake recipe that can be enjoyed, irrespective of your food allergies. The recipe is vegan — in line with the ethos of her brand — dairy-free for the lactose intolerant, egg-free for vegetarians and sugar-free for those keeping careful watch of their blood sugar levels with all the goodies this festive season. Made with whole wheat, coconut and jackfruit flours, this cake is also gluten-free. But Shalini promises you won’t miss the decadence on your palate with a selection of rum-soaked fruits, nuts and dates for sweetness and swirls of cashew butter woven into the mix. INR 1,100 for half kg. Also, look out for her vegan stollen loaf. INR 250 for 200 gms.
Cover image credit: Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash