Nahoum and Sons
Walking through New Market, Kolkata, comes with its own set of hazards. With the approach of Christmas, I proceed cautiously though the main entrance, trying not to brush against others (although it is pretty impossible), all the while thinking of my destination, which would bring to me what I have been dreaming about for the last few days – baked goodies.
Marzipan in many forms.
Nahoum and Sons’ is my poison today. After the death of David Nahoum on the 7th of March, 2013, I had studiously avoided the place for a while. Although he had been absent for a considerable period of time behind the cash box, the news of the bakery’s Jewish owner’s death had hit me hard at that time when I realized that yet another piece of my childhood had been taken away from me. Nonetheless, its Christmas, and I want fudge.
Inside Nahoums
So there I am, standing in the middle of the bakery with my three compadres, who are gazing at the racks behind glass sliding doors with equal amount of longing and lust. I am intent on one thing –  the lemon puff – a burst of lemon curd encased within a fluffy shell. Unlike the lemon tart, which comes with a hard, puff-pastry shell, the lemon puff is light, mild, and a sweet and slightly salty concoction. However, the man deftly extracting the pastries look at me with empathy and regret when he informs me that they have run out of them today.
Custard Cream Roll.
Although I am drooping with sadness, my gaze suddenly falls on the Custard Cream Rolls.
Repeat after me – Custard Cream Rolls. 
Isn’t it a melodious little ditty? At least, it is, to me. Flaky pastry enclosing a generous amount of custard which oozes out with every bite – not too sweet, with the hint of salt from the pastry hitting your taste buds and making them more willing to accommodate the creamy sweetness of the vanilla custard. 
Yes. Indeed, a melodious little ditty.
I have no clue what this it… probably almond tart
K notices the Chocolate Eclair (30/-), and before I can protest buys it. I know K will not like it much, but well, she is a force of nature when she sees Chocolate Eclairs, and I dare not step in her way. She takes a bite, grimaces slightly.
“Its not what I expected.”
“I know.” I agree solemnly, and watch as she puts the rest of the Eclair in her bag. 
Lemon Tart
C on the other hand is smart enough to get the brownie – its clearly baked in an oven, and is dry, very dark, slightly bitter, not too sweet, and crisp around the edges. It smacks of a mother’s oven and a dough made with a lot of cocoa and love. I break off some from her slice (It is just 25/- a slice) and we smile at each other over the piece of brownie, looking like conspirators against the King (in this case, its K).
Rum Balls.
We also spy Rum Balls. I am a major fan of them, and believe that Rum Balls aren’t worth their salt unless they are slightly bitter, boozy and with a super-sweet exterior. I can say with total honesty that Nahoum’s ticks all my criteria with a flourish. 
Sweet Buns
The Sweet Buns beckon me, and I nearly drown in my own pool of saliva, thinking of warm buns topped with a smattering of sugar and currants, while remaining deliciously soft under all the sugar. My gaze also longingly moves through the shelves of plastic-covered Marzipan to zoom in on my prize – Chocolate and Vanilla Fudge. These are, again, super-sweet, with a crystalline aftertaste that I have a fondness for (I have been guilty of finishing an entire package of fudge at one sitting).
Cheese Straws
The staff at Nahoum’s start unloading a huge crate full of cheese straws and the smell of baked puff pastry hit my nose, and I am nearly driven out of the shop, because all I want to do is buy a couple of dozen packages, and dip them in a hot bowl of soup before munching on them. The jam tarts are also there, reminding me of my childhood obsession with them, and as I decide to exit the shop before I overindulge, I spot a plethora of plum cakes, sitting prettily on the shelf (200/- for 400 gm.).
Plum Cake
And as I exit the shop, I slowly hum, “Tis the Season to be Jolly, fa la la la la la la la….”
Nahoum & Sons 
F 20, New Market Area
Kolkata
Written by Poorna Banerjee

Leave a Comment