Being in Kolkata is a little like walking back in time. Heritage buildings steeped in history, alleys that feel like they haven’t changed in years, time-warped markets – and New Market is the epitome of all of that. Established in 1874, New Market is still a bustling market with some businesses dating back over a 100 years. Nahoum & Sons is one such business, established in 1902.
Set up by a Baghdadi Jew in Kolkata, Nahoum is a haven of confectionary and baked goods. There is no mistaking the red shutters and the delicious smells wafting out of the store. Our guide and occasional contributor, Marshmallow, is pretty sure that a Christmas in any self-respecting Kolkata household is incomplete without a Nahoum & Sons Plum Cake. We hear the long-winding queues around Christmas time are legendary.
The place oozes history from every pore and has an antique feel to it – From the wood & glass display shelves loaded with pastries, samosas, brownies to the wooden cash-till, well worn floor and the long, slender ceiling fans.
The quaint treat trays filled with Nahoum specialities such as the baklava, challa, date babas, caca rings, almond, coconut and cheese samosas, are made from recipes that have been handed down since the beginning and still taste the same, surviving through the ages.
From all that we could choose from, we decided on the Almond cake, which looked really inviting with its glazed just-right, browned appearance, some macroons — those tiny bites of deliciousness — and a packet of water biscuits.
The almond cake was just what cakes should be – soft and not overly sweet, marzipan-like crunchy sweet icing and a lingering hint of orange zest. The macroons were light, small bites of toasted coconut that just melted with deliciousness in our mouths. And the thin, brittle and highly addictive water biscuits were an excellent novelty.
We can’t praise Nahoum & Sons enough and wish we’d had room to try more of their wares. The next time you are in Kolkata, make sure you head there to fill up on the history and deliciousness they have on offer – heady rum balls, cheesy muffins, delicious pastries or even the very old style fish pantras and cheese samosas.