Christmas 2022: Chennai peeps, here is our list of edible goodies to put on your wishlist this season!
Red rice rum balls, eggnog truffles, candy cane macarons... these flavours are just perfect for the holidays
Yuletide cheer is at an all-time high this year with folks out and about, trees up, stars up and home feast menu planning already underway. And alongside, a gamut of goodies you can get your hands on has vastly expanded from the years gone by. The culinary innovations range from Instagram-worthy — Christmas terrariums to fun twists on classics — eggnog truffles to weaving in a touch of South Indian heritage in the most unexpected ways — think, red rice in your rum balls!
Finale Dessert Bar’s bestselling chocolate and raspberry cake recently got a Christmas makeover. The cake has alternating layers of moist chocolate sponge, house-made raspberry coulis, rich chocolate ganache and seasonal berries. Also, look out for their X’mas themed macarons in flavours like Mint Chocochip, Candy Cane, and Christmas Spice and warm beverages for the season like S’mores Hot Chocolate, Toffee Caramel Coffee and Eggnog. Cakes at INR 225 for 250 gms; macarons are INR 90 for five pieces; beverages at INR 200 each.
This trio of Christmas-themed doughnuts — Jelly Jolly Cap, Snowman Treat and Strawberry Santa — by Mad Over Donuts will add to the festive décor on your table. The ‘Jelly Jolly Cap’ is shaped to resemble Santa’s hat and is filled with some luscious vanilla custard. It is further garnished with red strawberry jelly on white buttercream. Meanwhile, ‘Strawberry Santa’ comes with a honey dark chocolate filling and the ‘Snowman Treat’ dipped in white chocolate is filled with strawberry jelly and is garnished with icing sugar and a red scarf to add a cute lil’ touch of winter. Order online or in stores across the country.INR 125 onwards.
Red rice rum balls
Rum balls made with red rice? Now that’s a first. Senthil Kumar of Wholesome Rhapsody, a brand that specialises in desserts for any disease, offers these treats that are vegan, gluten-free and diabetic friendly. Made with a blend of organic whole grains like Kuzhiadichan Rice, Thavalai Kanna Matta Rice and Poongar Rice, activated roasted nuts, dark chocolate, flaxseed and coconut cream, you could also opt for a non-alcohol variant which tastes just as good. Courtesy, the nutrient quotient of the rice and non-alcohol aspect, these rum balls can also be had by lactating mothers, we are told, as well as a low glycemic all-day snack for weight watchers. They can be kept outside for two weeks in an airtight container and last over a month in the fridge. 100 gms at INR 280, non-alcoholic version at INR 250. Order via the Instagram page.
Brownie points for these delectable Christmas Plum Brownies rolled out for the holidays by Brownie Heaven. Opt for squares made with either dark chocolate or white chocolate batter, baked with macerated dry fruits and nuts, soaked for 365 days with the brand’s top secret mix of spices and syrups. These plum brownies also come in variants like Red Velvet and Rocky Road, if you prefer. INR 550 for a box of four.
Hot chocolate bombs
It’s the season for hot chocolate. And Zitter’s Christmas menu serves up Hot Chocolate Bombs that are as pretty as ornaments that you can hang on your tree. Made with Belgian chocolate and a housemade intense cocoa mix, expect three vegan flavours — Christmas Cocoa (dark chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves), Peppermint, Classic Dark and a non-vegan Salted Caramel. Vegan marshmallows in the mix certainly elevate the drinking experience. INR 250 for a box. Cheers Chocolate has similar hot chocolate balls priced at INR 710 for three balls, they also have a chocolate Snow Man, Star and Reindeer.
Christmas is not complete without popping open a bottle of wine. And Tickled Panda which started about a year-and-a-half ago with a traditional grape wine has now expanded its line-up to include 20 unique flavours. Think options like Green Pepper & Betel Leaf, Cocoa & Hazelnut, Kanthari Chilli, Blueberry, Cardamom and so forth. Founder Senthil Ram, the resident winemaker says their wines are available through the year but they typically sell 50 barrels, which is the equivalent of 100 litres during the Christmas season... INR 1,700 upwards for a bottle aged three to five years.Order three days ahead via Instagram.
Home baker Sara Koshy is one of those folks who is inundated with Christmas fruit cake orders during the season, having been baking for over two decades. But her Stollen is one of those goodies, you might want to put in your edible wishlist this month. For the uninitiated, stollen is a sweet yeasted bread which originated in Germany and dates all the way back to the 14th century. Raisins, candied orange peel and nuts are soaked in rum overnight before being added to the bread dough along with spices. In some versions, a strip of marzipan is rolled up inside before being shaped and baked. Legend has it that the hump in the middle of the bread represents the hump of the camels that the Wise Men rode on to see baby Jesus. Sara makes it a point to inform us that the marzipan she uses is homemade. Eat a slice of stollen as is, toast with butter or for extra indulgence, use it for a batch of French toast on Christmas morning. INR 850 for an eight inch loaf.
We’ve seen cribs and gingerbread houses, but a terrarium filled with edible treats is not something you come across every year. Curated by the creative culinary team at The Park Chennai, this Christmas, expect a collection of mini Iced Cookies, a Crescent Almond Bite, Marzipan tree, Fruit Mince Pie, Marzipan Stollen, Dundee Cake and of course, Iced Plum Cake! INR 1,999 ++
Most expensive plum cake
Back again by popular demand, is The Park Chennai’s ‘Most Expensive Plum Cake’. This is limited edition, so only 22 of these will be exclusively baked this season and here is why. Each plum cake is made of the choicest ingredients from across the world, ranging from New Zealand butter, to Iranian pistachios, Spanish raisins, dried cranberries, Californian prunes and Turkish apricots. The fruits are aged for over a year in liquor ranging from VSOP Cognac to 18 yrs Single Malt Whisky and Mexican Rum. And the final touch of decadence is 24 Karat gold leaf placed on top. INR 12,999 for a kg, accompanied by GH Mumm – 375 ml.
Now you can enjoy carols by candlelight with the fan on for once. The pastry chefs at La Patisserie by Taj Coromandel have put together hand rolled chocolate candles with flavours like Lemon and Berry Ganache. Made with Belgian cocoa, Sicilian lime, frosted berries, these are INR 350 a piece. Also, look out for their twist on the much-loved traditional Eggnog with ‘Eggnog Truffles’ prepped with white chocolate, cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg for the perfect Christmassy gift box. INR 600 for six pieces.
Believe it or not, mince pies date all the way back to the middle ages. And given that they are of English origin, home chef Smitha Kuttayya picked up her recipe from her hosts while on a trip in West Sussex. Kuttayya who goes by the brand name Global Theeni makes these festive specials with organic sugar, dry fruits and nuts and spices soaked in wine. Also, not to miss are her Pinwheel Cookies and Kal Kals, each recipe passed down by a different grandmother, so these treasures stay within the family. INR 500 for 300 gms.
Sweet liqueur enthusiasts are going to go ga-ga over this Kahlua-inspired menu which was introduced at The Westminister, earlier this month. Fitting for the heavy showers outside and as a delightful Christmas beverage, look out for options like a Caribbean-style Dirty Banana, an Espresso Martini or a White Russian made with vodka and heavy cream. At Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park. On till December 31. INR 200 ++ onwards.
Pumpkin Tales recently had Italian pastry chef Mirko Tognetti helm their kitchen for a few days to bring together the perfect panettone. This tall, round, enriched sweet bread is quite literally a labour of love as it takes over 36 hours to prepare between kneading, resting, proofing and shaping. But the slow process is what contributes largely to the distinct fluffy characteristic of the bread with a light and airy texture, paired with a buttery taste. Choose between a traditional option with candied oranges and raisins (INR 875 for 500g) and a more modern chocolate variant (INR 975 for 500 gms). Also, not to miss are their mini yule logs in three festive flavours — White Chocolate Strawberry, Dark Chocolate Orange and Spiced Dry Fruits. INR 950 for 500 gms. Order a day in advance.
Sticky toffee pudding
We like the sound of this Sticky Toffee Pudding on the Baker Ninja’s new Christmas menu for the holiday season. Expect a moist date cake served warm with a toffee sauce, made with molasses and brown sugar. Founder Niranjana Selvam tells us that this warm dessert is a perfect accompaniment for rainy weather. INR 200 for a single serving. Also look out for X’mas themed cupcakes and macarons with flavours like Mint & Chocolate and Cinnamon & Caramel. Available online and at stores in Alwarpet and Besant Nagar. Macarons are INR 80 per piece, cupcakes are INR 100 each.