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In recent years, Kolkata has witnessed a mushrooming of bakeries and cake shops – a pretty cake shop crops up in some neighbourhood or the other every other day, or so it seems. And while old favourites continue to do brisk business in heritage sweets and savouries, there are a few newer bakeries that have made quite an impact. Here are five bakeries you must try while in the city, once you are done with the obligatory visit to Flurys.
Mrs Magpie – This place is right out of a fairy tale. And it is cupcake heaven. Done in bright shades of pink and peach, it is designed like a doll house with tiny wrought iron chairs with pink cushions and floral wallpaper on the pillars. The chalkboard menu, pretty ceramic cake stands and other doll-house paraphernalia add to the charm quotient. The menu is an impressive assortment of pastries, sandwiches, marzipan, quiches and tarts, sliders and savoury puffs. They also serve a fantastic afternoon tea that comes with finger sandwiches, scones, petit fours, cakes and biscuits. But their beautifully crafted cupcakes (in flavours such as cherry and cream cheese, lemony white chocolate and apple brandy) are their biggest draw. Plus, they make the best hot chocolate in town.
Cocoa Bakery –This charming little bakery with pretty chocolate awnings, in a quiet New Alipore neighbourhood, is just the kind of place where you would want to settle down with a book and a cup of coffee. Inside, it is warm and cosy, suffused with the delicious aroma of fresh-baked confections. The display counter has a mind-boggling assortment of sweets and savouries, handcrafted chocolates, breads, cakes and cookies. The Ferrero Rocher pastry and the deliciously moist pineapple pastry are particularly good. Or try their decadent chocolate mud pie and brownie in a bowl. The café menu has a selection of mains, soups and salads to choose from, but, at Cocoa, the bakery rules. One of the framed posters on the wall screams “Dieting sucks, give me a cupcake”. True that.
8th Day Café and Bakery – A charming American-style café cum bakery with French windows and dark wooden furniture, this is the place to go to if you fancy bagels. The bagels are crusty and chewy, just the way they should be. Go for the one topped with sesame and poppy seeds, caramelised onions and garlic. The fillings are simple – jelly, peanut butter, Nutella or cream cheese. Besides, the bakery also serves banana bread, cupcakes, ice-cream sandwich (quite rare these days) some old-fashioned apple pie and their signature cinnamon rolls to go with a cup of coffee. It is a pity they do not serve scones anymore (there were not too many takers, it seems). The café has a more elaborate menu with bestsellers such as The Aubergine, a New York style bagel stuffed with roasted aubergines, pesto, cheddar cheese, and a range of soups, salads and sandwiches.
The Rouge – A pretty little place perched on a corner of the AJC Bose Road crossing, this one is for cupcake fanatics. From regular flavours such as red velvet and cream cheese and chocolate peanut butter to more unusual ones such as key lime and crème brûlée – there is a cupcake for every taste. Plus, there are macarons (chocolate, raspberry, hazelnut, and more) and a variety of éclairs such as red velvet cream cheese and milk chocolate hazelnut.
Made in Oven – The chef-owner Kamalika Ganguly started out as a home-baker a couple of years ago and sold her goodies online, until she launched her shop in January. And she has never been busier. The almond barquettes (a boat-shaped tart filled with caramel and roasted almonds), truffle mocha cakes and caramel pastries are some of the bestsellers here. The lemon tart, however, is to die for. They also have a selection of breads (the masala cheese bread is particularly good), puffs and quiches to try from. Look out for the chef’s specials of the week, which could be anything from Orange Cointreau cakes and nolen gurer cheesecake to tiramisu and trifle pudding. There is no place to sit here, so grab and go.
An independent journalist based out of Calcutta and a dedicated food enthusiast, she writes mostly about food and travel, and has worked and written for publications India Today, The Telegraph, Live Mint as also Lonely Planet India’s website. She also loves to experiment in her kitchen and runs a food blog – allthatsdelicious.com. But mostly she eats, frets about how much she eats and then eats some more.