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Publication Date : 05-03-2013
Even for those minus a sweet-tooth, the cupcakes at Kolkata's Mrs. Magpie will prove hard to resist
Cupcakes have never been my scene. I find them faddish and flippant. My friends have taken me to enough cupcake places in various cities for me to say that I have seen it all.
All that changed in one visit to Mrs. Magpie's.
I had heard of the place and seen them in action at a book launch. I walked away from the oh-so-pretty display of ho-hum cupcakes that everyone seemed to go gaga about. Give me a simple cake any day and I am a happy man. Lurid colours and overt sugar hits do not excite me.
Well, it so happened that I was in the Mrs. Magpies South Kolkata neighbourhood one day and decided to walk in. And that is the closest I have come to being transported to a different reality.
From the dusty streets of Kolkata, as you walk through the doors, an alluring aroma of baked goodies amble in to seduce the old olfactory.
The fairytale-like designs on the walls, the wrought iron furniture, the striped sofas, all take you to an English childhood that you recall reading about in Enid Blyton novels.
Then you walk up to the counter, all the while taking in the vanilla and spice and citrus and cocoa that seem to permeate the air. And at the counter you find that the fairytale land unfolds.
Miniature cupcakes with little ladybirds and mushrooms and ribbons and pixies as decoration. Gingerbread men. Quiches. Cookies. Teacakes. They all jostle for space.
We sat down to a sampler of cupcakes and some hot chocolate. A lemon, a black forest, a chocolate.
With a very English cup and saucer full of molten chocolate. As you sip, the chocolate slithers down your throat. You half drink, half eat. And then you bite into the little pieces of art they call cupcakes.
They are moist. They burst with flavours like they are some vine ripe fruits in season. The sugar hit is there, but muted by the essence, the extract, the effervescence.
Not that I have become a cupcake convert, but surely, if all cupcakes are like this, I am willing to delve more.