The idea of Bengali sweets probaby conjures up the images and smells of rosogullas and sondesh for most people. But, for people in the know, there is also the sweet legacy the British left behind in Kolkata, their first capital when they set up shop in India. Kolkata is where you get the best fruit cakes, pastries, rolls for sure, and even savory patties and puffs in the way that only Bengalis know best.
And where else to relish these treats than at the city’s oldest bakery? Nahoum and Sons has been a fixture in the New Market area since 1902, predating Flury’s, the other famous bakery, by more than two decades.
The Real Deal:
New Market is fascinating for all kinds of shoppers, but if you have a sweet tooth, you have to make a beeline for Nahoum and Sons.
Their most famous offering is their fruit cake, followed closely by their plum cake, studded with candied fruits and walnuts. But, don’t stop there! The bakery may be a classic, but they serve modern fare, too. Everything is fresh from their kitchen, the staff is courteous, it smells heavenly … what more could anyone want to satisfy their taste buds, stomach and sense of history all at once?
Their rum balls and rich fruit cake will transport you back to the times when Britannia ruled the waves and these Western desserts were hard to come by. They’re still delectable though, so even if we’ve brushed off our shackled past, the taste will still work its magic on you.
Everything is yummy, but we recommend you try their lemon tarts and their take on a rustic cheese cake. Their cookies come in many varieties (try the ginger-nut biscuits) and there is something for everyone.
Their savories are also simply delicious: go for a cutlet or a sandwich if you want to round out the sweets. Or try a puff pastry, which is just the right amount of crispy and flaky.
Once upon a time, Kolkata’s Jewish population was small, but flourishing at about 4,000. Today there are fewer than two dozen practicing Jews left in the city. Nahoum and Sons is the last Jewish-owned bakery left for miles and they have stuck to a rich tradition that predates all of us, starting when India was still a colony.
The architecture hasn’t changed since the store was founded, but it’s the prices that will really make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
The iconic store is large enough to accommodate many hungry shoppers. There is no seating, so be prepared to either stand by the counters and eat or get a takeaway packet. Be warned, though: they do sell out. We’ve seen multiple occasions when the shelves are dusted with mere crumbs by tea time, so try and get there by early evening.
Where: F47, Hogg Market, New Market Area, Kolkata.
When: 09.30 -20:00 hours except, Sundays, until 13:00 hours
Cost: Rs. 150 for two people
UniQ Tip: Nahoum can be a little tricky to locate once you’re inside the Hogg market complex. But locals are happy to help; just ask anyone inside the complex to guide you.
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