December is all about waiting for Christmas. The fun begins as you see all things Christmasy pop up, menu’s change, display windows light up, you’re thinking of what presents to get your family and friends, and dreaming of getting yourself that prize watch you’ve been eyeing all year. Yes its magical, but to me its quite different celebrating Christmas here in Mumbai, compared to the ones I’ve spent in other countries. Firstly there is barely a shift in the temperature, and its just about a Jeans and T-shirt sort of weather. Even a cardigan would make you uncomfortable and sweat, so the thought of cozying up and having a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows only looks good in pictures. You would walk into a mall and you’ll probably see a feeble excuse of a XMas tree in some corner, trying to say, the festive season has begun and we’re celebrating too. The one thing that’s surprisingly annoying, is that its half way through December and I still don’t see cinnamon candy canes anywhere. How is it Christmas with out them ?! There are however a percentage of people who do share the spirit with great fervor and put up Christmas trees, exchange presents, attend Christmas Mass, have parties and make up for the majority who don’t. Thank heavens for them. Christmas would be non existent here without that lovely lot. So with a make do Christmastide here, I keep myself happy, but it is a dream to someday see Christmas in Paris. I’ve been told, its the best there and as the days grow shorter churches and monuments cast a burnished glow, and every corner of every quartier is transformed with its own special enchantment—from the lively outdoor ice skating rinks at light-festooned Hôtel de Ville (city hall), the Champs-Elysées, and atop the Eiffel Tower to the many charming Christmas markets that line the city’s streets and squares. Like mini villages, the festive markets of Saint-Sulpice and the boulevards Saint Germain, Champs-Elysées, and Montparnasse, to name a few, offer Parisians and tourists alike a cornucopia of handmade gifts and specialties from every region of France: sticky butter cakes, wooden toys, and hand-knit sweaters from Brittany, glacéed fruit and fresh nuts from the Auvergne, cheeses, traditional charcuterie, and wine from every province of the country. And then to warm up with a hot vin chaud suffused with spices while a small brass band plays the merry songs of Noël. Picture perfect don’t you think ? Another thing to look forward to is, waking up first thing Christmas morning to dash to the local outdoor food market. An epicure’s dream come true, these bustling markets furnish all the fresh delicacies that will star in the day’s festivities: wild geese, rabbits, and pheasants; baskets brimming with lobsters, scallops, cockles, and oysters fresh from the coast; carefully wrapped pears and clementines; pyramids of round wooden boxes filled with Saint-Nectaire cheese to be baked and savored with chunks of rustic country bread, and the decadent, cream-filled bûche de Noël cake, made in the shape of a Yule log. So visiting Paris in Christmas, should be on your bucket list and plan your trip ahead of time, book your hotels on this site and book your flights so you can get a good deal on them, and have something to look forward to.
Everyone has fond memories of Christmas as kids, and remember Diwali used to be grand, but mum would even make sure did something for us in Christmas. ( she being born and brought up a Hindu) She would set up a corner, decorate it with streamers, get us an artificial Christmas tree, and put cotton for snow and our gifts tucked under. We had our Catholic neighbours send us Marzipan and Samosas ( yes the Indian Style ) and of course the 10 day holiday from school. So life has come full circle and now I’m doing the same for my son (except the marzipan and samosas :-p), and given that I have a penchant for baking, I’m looking forward to sending my friends some edible gifts too. Ive revisited a recipe I’ve done before. It never fails me, and its such a crowd pleaser. Turns out they make fabulous gift and look great in a box too. I’m taking about Lamingtons.
The recipe is from my previous posts here and here. Follow the recipe to the T, Just to add that Noel touch, add a shot of rum to the chocolate icing. Feel free to use your choice of booze or change the flavour and colour, or leave them just as they are. You’ll still love them that’s a guarantee. They stay good in the refrigerator for about a week. That’s if they survive the first day