Special Column
Cake mixing ceremony at Zone by the Park

By Rajesh Govindarajulu, SimpliCity

Oct 13, 2017

Zone by the Park is a nice property located on the corner of Kamaraj road and Avinashi road. A number of celebrities like Suhasini Manirathnam have frequented this locale. The Pazhamudir Nilayam group has created this asset and placed it under the management of Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels Limited. The management made an occasion on the evening of the 12th of October 2017 by organising a cake mixing event in order to herald the onset of the Christmas season. For millennia, the Christian faithful have been celebrating the arrival of Baby Jesus on the 25th of December. Thousands of winters have given the faithful enormous warmth due the arrival of the Christmas festivities. King William of Normandy was acclaimed as the ruler of all England on the Christmas of 1066 at the Westminster Abbey in London.

The fourth floor of the hotel, was a beehive of activity with the F & B Manager Kamalakannan making the arrangements with the Executive Chef Kumar and his team. Director Operations Arun Kumar was seen interacting with the guests even as they started trooping in. Cake mixing is a fabulous ritual that is celebrated the world over and has its current style dating back to the seventeenth century. It was meant to be a harbinger of good tidings and happiness. The ceremony actually marks the arrival of the harvest season, Fruits and nuts were harvested, dried up and soaked in wine along with alcohol as well. The soaked mixture was preserved and used to make fine Christmas cake after about one and a half months. In certain cases silver coins were placed in the mixture that was preserved in nice jars!

The enriched plum cake was shared with the near and dear alike. The stirring ceremony was a part of age-old Christmas tradition of cake mixing while also making wishes for the forthcoming year. The ingredients of the festive fruit cake are mixed in wine and liquor in advance so that they develop aroma and taste. During earlier times it was a family affair and only close friends were invited as part of this lovely ritual that was meant to spread friendship and fellowship. Subsequently organisations came up with the same concept in order to improve camaraderie among the members of the team. The friends who used to join in were given some special soak in jars as this was the first holy gathering for Christmas.

Everyone used to wear aprons, gloves and caps while pouring the alcohol, wine into the chopped fruits for it gets perfumed with enthusiasm and gaiety. The flavour of the dry fruits getting mixed up with wine is an experience by itself. All the guests were treated with nice tea, coffee, beverages, etc., before being offered cakes, puffs, burgers, marzipans, quiches, biscuits, sweets like marshmellows, pies and cakes in large numbers. Subsequently everyone was helped with aprons, gloves and caps before being called in to pour whiskey, brandy, beer, wine into the fruit and nut arrangement which said "Merry Christmas".

Arun Kumar observed " The process of soaking dry fruits and nuts in liquor for a long time enhances the taste and by the end of the process, gives a robust aroma to the final product. The bitterness of alcohol and the orange rind balances the excess sweetness caused by the fruits actually. It's a sort of a pickling process when the ingredients are let to marinate for weeks on. It's a must for every eatery year on year. The ingredients include cinnamon, clove, mace, rum , brandy, whiskey, wine, honey, beer, golden syrup, raisin, black raisin, cashew, walnut, almond, candied fruit, cherries,dates, figs,prunes, black currant etc., Those days the mix was saved up until the next harvest season with the hope that the following year would usher in abundance due to the grace of God."

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