In Calcutta Christmas is always special! Its popularly known as “barodin” which means a long day literally (Around this time of the year the day starts getting longer). The day is always marked with certain rituals like a visit to Park Street, exchanging and eating fruit cakes which are integral part of this celebration. In fact, the fruit cakes are so integral that it replaces the usual sweets or mishti during those days.
So, coming from this city, I grew up reading about the cake mixing ceremony in the eminent hotels and F&B houses, where the elites of Kolkata took part. Since then I nurtured the ‘hidden wish’ to take part in a ‘cake mixing ceremony’ at least once. The wait finally came to an end in 2017, when I got a call from the Waverly Hotel (VR mall) to attend their Sunday brunch and cake mixing ceremony. You can estimate my joy the very moment I saw the invite!
These Cake Mixing Ceremonies mark the start of Christmas – where dry fruits, brandy, sherry, whisky, rum, cinnamon, orange zest, etc are soaked for the next one month or more for the final bake. These festive fruit cakes are baked in advance and fed regularly with rum, brandy or whisky to build the flavour and keep it moist. So, the preparation of the cake we eat on Christmas, starts way back.
Coming back to the experience, after the Sunday brunch we were so excited. We were handed gloves and head caps. The huge wooden vessel lay before us with all these ingredients and all of us just lived the moment out of the newspaper or books, which we have read all these days.
Everyone present enthusiastically took part in the mixing ritual. It’s one afternoon, I shall not forget. The pictures, selfies captured our liquor soaked hands and smiling faces. For me its one tick from the bucket list.