CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE… AND THE GOODIES!

Goan repertoire of X’mas sweets…. kulkuls, dodol, jujubes, bolinha, pinaag, doce, rose cookies, bebinca, neuroes and more!

THERE are times when I want to forsake all manner of celebrations! But this is Christmas which I have a soft corner for, when everyone gets a little tizzy and sentimental — over the evergreen story of Christmas. Of baby Jesus born in a shepherd’s hut, who grew up to be a timeless revolutionary, who founded Christianity (against the backdrop of pagan Roman civilization) – remember Jesus Christ.
The mesmerizing story is recounted the world over and we cannot do better than listen and learn from history religious or irreligious — but will we ever do that and grow up as a civilization? I’ve certainly grown up with the evergreen moral stories of the old and new testaments of Christianity. Falling in love with the Charles Dickens stories of Christmas time; and of course I will always remember the Danish poet and story teller Hans Andersen fairy story the Little Match Girl of Copenhagen, who as the fable goes, froze to death in the early hours of the morning during Christmas time – with nobody buying her matchboxes she started lighting them all up one by one to warm herself, dreaming of her kind-hearted grandmother who represented better times in her young life… she didn’t want to go home that night without any earnings! So she burnt her stock matchsticks and wandered off in the wind… something like that. I can always weep a little when I read this story!
But to return to Goa’s Christmas time sweets – they are very quintessentially Goan, although I suppose Christmas cake and pudding are pretty much recognized by all across social and cultural differences. This time around I’m noticing that there quite a few places are stocking the the German styled stollen (cake or bread, check out the ones at Magson’s Superstore).
Many individual home-based caterers too are putting up their Christmas goodies list over Facebook and they’re willingly do home deliveries over the December 23/24 weekend. Prices are almost the same all around — Christmas cake (rum) — 1,200 kg; dodol, bebinca, batica, doce de grao, pinagre --600kg or so; the crunchy kulkuls — 500 kg; neoro --240 dozen, rose cookies — 150 dozen. Many are offering do it yourself hampers of goodies and wine bottles. Sugarness has such cakes as checkerboard cake, date and walnut cake, Xmas cupcakes, also what is leitrem and of course there’s bol sans rival (1,300)
I am more or less sick and tired of most sweets of any denomination but will make an exception for a good mishti doi and amongst my Christmas favorites are Christmas rum and raisin cake, a good batica (they’re doing a very tempting one at Mr Baker’s in Panjim, priced at 180 if I remember right) and yes, I will relish some guave cheese (perada) and a rose cookie this Christmas while I think of a man like Jesus Christ! Which reminds me that if you’re looking for the Portuguese-styled almond sherbat called orchata you will find it at Nostalgia at Fontainhas (350 a liter bottle), I’m drinking my orchata both cold and hot and in my coffee.

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