We natives of Nagercoil are snobs. At least when it comes to certain articles of food. We cannot help it. We have grown up with the best and it is a tad difficult for us to settle for second best.
Let’s start with the plum cake. Yes, THE PLUM CAKE! The one that is available at that old vanguard of all things baked in Nagercoil – Greatest Bakery. Take a bite into a slice and then you will know why we find it difficult to join people who wax eloquent over the more popular brands available elsewhere, with a straight face.
I did try one of these ‘famous’ ‘excellent, moist, melt in your mouth cakes’ whose glory I even hear sung in these distant shores. Tasted like saw dust that had been sitting in the sun for the last two days!
And if you tell me it’s because they lose their texture in transport, let me tell you this. I had a slice of GB plum cake a few minutes ago and it came from a loaf that has been cooling it off in my pantry for the past one year. Moist… and I heard my taste buds break into a rhapsody as it waltzed down my throat.
That is one thing that makes these cakes so special. They stay fresh for so long and store well for months. Refrigerate only if you must. Not a dent to that wonderful taste.
And at any given time, there is at least one loaf on standby in my pantry/refrigerator wherever I live. Saved specially for just those moments of unbearable nostalgia and homesickness. All I need for a slice of home is to pop a piece of the cake into my mouth, close my eyes and I can almost feel the gentle breeze caressing me by the Parvathipuram railway bridge.
These plum cakes, wonderfully fragrant and loaded with dry fruits and nuts, moist and richly dark are a fantasy come true. They positively burst with richness and a small whiff of it can make you weak at the knees (and let’s not just blame the rum that goes into it). Truly a slice of heaven, that can have the devil give up his evil in exchange for a loaf.
While these cakes are always in demand, come Christmas season and these sell literally like what they are – hot cakes. They virtually fly off the shelf and there are people who buy them by the dozens. Expatriates and non resident Nagercoilites, who undoubtedly like me, want to carry a piece of home tucked into their baggage, make routine visits to the bakery the day they leave town. There are people who visit Nagercoil and NEVER leave without buying a loaf to take home.
Whatever is the special ingredient(s) that make these cakes so special, all I can say is that the taste has remained unchanged over all these years. As my whole town undergoes a major makeover and tries too hard to join the big league and desperately tries to shed its cozy small town feel (unfortunately so), there are a few things that have remained unchanged and hopefully never will change.
I don’t even feel very sure about the mountains ringing my hometown anymore, because every time I go home, I find a major chunk missing from the hills.
But one of the few constants that are always there to warmly welcome me back home is undoubtedly the fresh, luscious, rich taste that explodes in my mouth as I take a bite into the world’s best plum cake from Greatest Bakery.
If you haven’t tried it yet, you know what to do on your next trip to Nagercoil. And if you have never been to Nagercoil, I’ve just given you a great reason to make that trip.
Meanwhile, I think I’ll go have just one more slice before I sleep.
PS: I know I tend to get a tad biased when it comes to all things Kanyakumari… But this time, I am pretty sure I am justified. Believe me, I know…
- Kanyakumari – More Than Just the Three Seas… (alakananda.wordpress.com)