Express news service
BENGALURU: Back home in Paris, this is what Aurélie Lalande’s Christmas festivities look like: Friends, family, a warm buzz and a galette des rois shared by everyone.
A lucky person in the room finds a small piece of jewelry or ceramic tile in its edge and is baptized king or queen, with a paper crown strung on. Lalande, who has been in Bengaluru since 2016, may be miles from France, but she continues this custom through the traditional desserts she offers this season.
The founder of Café Plume in Indiranagar has a special menu that also includes Christmas bredele or cookies, winter apple pie and log. “There is no celebration in France without these cake logs filled with either chocolate-pear or lemon-raspberry. It is Christmas Eve or noon on December 25. The galette is a delicious treat. after Christmas, savored the first week of January, ”says Lalande.
Other expats in the city are also giving Bengalurians a taste of Christmas in different parts of the world. Cookies are synonymous with this time of year, but how about trying some melomakarona and kouramppiedes? “These are my country’s most traditional desserts at Christmas,” says Kiki Petriti Prabhu, who grew up in Piraeus, near Athens, and moved to Bengaluru six years ago. She also owns the Marzipan Cafe and Bakery, where you can drop in for a bite of these cookies.
“Melomakarona, or honey nut cookies, contains spices like cinnamon and cloves, and kouramppiedes are made with ghee and almonds. As Greek cuisine is similar to Indian cuisine in terms of ingredients, I didn’t have to change the original recipe. These desserts are exactly like the ones my mother and grandmother made, ”Prabhu adds.
And what is Christmas without mulled wine? But if you were in Mexico, you would probably have a glass of ponche instead. This seasonal special is served at Chinita, and chef and partner Candice Lock Mirchandani promises the drink will pack a punch.
“This Mexican Christmas punch contains fruits like guava, apple, pear, tamarind and sugar cane, along with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Instead of wine, they drink it with rum or tequila, ”says Mirchandani, who is originally from Malaysia and developed a fondness for Mexican cuisine during his 11-year stay in the United States.
However, Chinita will serve a non-alcoholic ponche. “This drink can be warm enough for the winter and is packed with vitamin C, which is perfect for the time,” says Mirchandani.
There is a lot of love that goes into preparing the Christmas dinner, especially since the desire to be home is stronger in these times.
Paula James-Scott, whose spontaneous trip to India 13 years ago has turned into a permanent stay, may not be going to the UK this year, but the aroma that emanates from the treats that she prepared is quite heartwarming.
This pastry chef has made batches of mulled wine, gingerbread cookies and tarts, which she sells through her business, PollyHannah’s Kitchen. “In Victorian times, mince pies had meat, but now traditional British Christmas pies, which pair perfectly with coffee or mulled wine, don’t. The filling is a mixture of cranberries, of currants, apples, oranges and seedless raisins, infused with brandy or whiskey, ”says James-Scott.
The real magic is in the spice blend, which includes cinnamon, mace, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and cilantro. “Back home we have a saying that it’s never too early for tarts. In times like today, traditions help us stay connected.
Flavors from all over the world
French connection: Galette des rois (puff pastry filled with almond cream or chocolate-pear), bredele (cookies), winter apple pie and log (logs filled with chocolate-pear or lemon-raspberry). Contact Aurélie Lalande at 95919-42490. Price: Rs 320 – Rs 2,100
Greek Goodness: Melomakarona (honey and nut cookies) and kouramppiedes (butter and almond cookies) are available for Rs 50 a piece at Marzipan Café and Bakery, Ulsoor
Pack a punch: the Mexican ponche in Chinita, Indiranagar and Koramangala, is priced at Rs 150 (excluding tax). Also available on Swiggy
Easy as a pie: Chopped pies, mulled wine, gingerbread cookies, pecan brownies and more, available at prices starting at Rs 150. Contact Paula James-Scott at 9560831518