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A German Delight!

27 Dec

Tucked away in a quaint little nook in Whitefield is a refreshingly charming Café that will make you travel miles away into Germany. Joy Basu, who learnt baking during her stay in Germany wanted to create a place with food that makes people feel at home. Inspired by German flavours and baking techniques, Joy realized her dreams with ‘Café of Joy’ in Bangalore after bidding adieu to a successful corporate career.

From the time my friend and I walked into this café with pristine white walls and a hint of purple thrown in, we knew there was some good food in store.  The aroma of fresh bakes in this cosy café only affirmed our belief about what was in store for us.

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This time I wasn’t on a dessert mission alone so we decided to catch a bite before getting to the desserts. We went by the first option suggested by Joy – a German flat bread pizza. With a generous helping of cream cheese and  roasted capsicum, caramelised onions and goat cheese topping, the perfectly baked ‘Flammkuchen’ (flat bread pizza) was undoubtedly the highlight of our meal.

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Soon as I bit into the last bite of Flammkuchen, I had already short-listed the desserts in my mind. No dessert expedition is ever complete without some chocolate, and so the ‘Sacher Torte’ was the first to arrive on the table. The rich chocolate cake with subtle layers of apricot jam is topped with dark chocolate ganache, true to the traditional recipe. It’s a must try for chocolate lovers.

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Just when I was convinced that chocolate was going to be the winner yet again, Joy brought us some Fruhstuck Kuchen (muffins) in two flavours – Pineapple & Oatmeal and Blueberry. What happened next is something that has never happened before – I abandoned the Sacher Torte for the Fruhstuck Kuchen (alas, chocolate lost this time)! Though muffins are common in most coffee shops in Bangalore, these German muffins are easily the most moist and flavourful ones, specially the Pineapple.

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After a satisfying meal I walked out of Café of Joy  learning something new about my sweet tooth – chocolate doesn’t always have to win, given a fair chance other flavours can win over my sweet tooth too 🙂

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When In New York, Eat Dessert First!

25 Oct

Soon after booking my tickets to New York I was already dreaming about all the food I was going to binge on there, specially the desserts. There’s so much to the dessert culture of New York, so much to explore and ofcourse SO many yummies to try.

So there we were, my best friend Naimeesha and I on a mission – on the streets of New York at 8.30 am on a bright and beautiful Saturday morning. Our first stop – The Diner on 9th Ave in Soho where we ordered a gigantic blueberry pancake. We had our doubts about finishing it, but before we knew it the pancake was gone.  It almost melted in my mouth and the fresh blueberries added so much texture to every bite.

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We had the rest of the day planned and it was pretty simple – eat, walk, eat, walk and keep doing that over and over again. Next, we landed up in the bustling Chelsea Market, just down the street from The Diner. There were so many cute little, creative bakeries and I wanted to get a bite from each one of them.

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A bright pink wall and irresistible aroma invited me into ‘Eleni’s’ bakery. Though my mind said “no, stop!” as I walked towards the counter to order my chocolate cupcake, my heart said “you would be a fool to say no to that piece of goodness”. Ofcourse, the heart won and how thankful I am that it did. It would be a shame to have missed that cupcake.

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As we started walking again (barely ten meters) we made a quick pit stop at ‘Ninth Street Espresso’. After all, you can never be too full for coffee.

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Turns out, the coffee did fill us up more than we thought and eventhough I walked into Magnolia Bakery, almost reached the counter to order but finally decided I had to walk more to digest all that had been binged on in the last two hours. I always wanted to hold that cupcake and sit right outside Magnolia Bakery with my best friend (just like Carrie and Miranda from the famous scene in Sex and the City) but well, maybe next time.

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After many hours of walking around in Soho and an intentional light lunch, we walked into ‘Georgetown Cupcake’. That chocolate ganache cupcake had ‘bite me’ written all over it. Being a die hard chocolate fan, it would have been a crime to shift my loyalties to any other flavour. So I decided to get a bit greedy and get two cupcakes. My second choice was the ‘Key Lime Cupcake’ and I can proudly say that it was one of the best dessert choices I’ve made. The key lime left such an interesting, tangy taste in my mouth with every bite. What a perfect end it was to an absolutely ‘sweet’ (literally) day!

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I just about managed to scratch the surface of New York’s best bakeries with this dessert expedition, just can’t wait to visit again.

Cupcake paradise in Hyderabad – Labonel!

19 Apr

Tucked away in a cozy little corner on a busy street of Banjara Hills in Hyderabad is a cupcake paradise, called ‘Labonel – fine baking’.

While in the city on work, a colleague took me there and mentioned they make some of the finest cupcakes. Being the dessert-o-holic that I am, I was all set to indulge. My colleague remembered the place from his last visit and took us right into the bakery which is otherwise difficult to spot, because there are no prominent sign boards, it is infact inside a high compound wall of a residence. Well, such is the popularity of the place! It does not need any sign boards or directions but naturally draws people there 🙂

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Though they have a variety of cakes, cupcakes and brownies, being a die-hard chocolate fan I went straight for the chocolate cupcake which is displayed on their trail table. There’s a piece of almost everything they sell on the trail table, so you can taste it before you buy it which I thought was a great idea.

I got myself an assorted box of mini cupcakes which had chocolate, red velvet and vanilla cupcakes. I found it difficult to start eating them because the packaging was so beautiful, I just did not want to destroy it. But then again, the cupcakes looked even more tempting!

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Perfect packaging

My first observation and what I loved about the mini cupcakes – there is no compromise on the rich, creamy icing. I have often eaten cupcakes with very little icing which has left me a bit disappointed. But despite the generous portion of icing, I give full points to the chocolate cupcake for not being overly sweet. The sweetness quotient is perfectly balanced with rich dark chocolate used in the icing.

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Mini Chocolate cupcake

The red velvet cupcake was amazingly moist, just the way it should be and the fresh cream cheese frosting made every bite perfect.  Though I found the vanilla cupcake a little too sweet for my taste buds, it is perfect for those who do not mind their desserts a little too sweet.  Even with the sweetness, the vanilla cupcake was full of flavor and did not disappoint.

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Mini Vanilla Cupcake & Mini Red Velvet Cupcake

With no compromises on packaging and ingredients, the pack of 16 mini cupcakes justifies the cost at Rs 650.

The quick stop at Labonel was definitely worth the time and effort! If you live in Hyderabad, or if you are visiting the city, don’t forget to grab a box of Labonel goodies.