Guests and staff at The Residency got together in a spirit of bonhomie for the fruit mixing ceremony
THINK CHRISTMAS treats and the first thing that comes to mind is the fruit-filled rich plum cake. One bite and you're on a trip to a heaven of your making. The exquisite flavour is thanks to the maturing process that dry fruits, the main ingredients of the cake, are put through.
The process is almost a revered annual ritual - where family and friends gather, mix and seal the aromatic mixture, drizzled with choice spirits, in a container to let them soak in the juices and turn plump.
In hotels, things happen on a much grander scale. Hundreds of kilos of dry fruits and herbs are piled in mounds of stainless steel tables, hand-mixed and turned over and over again.
The fruit mixing ceremony at The Residency saw the participation of staff, two surprised foreign guests and score bottles of spirits.
As the corks popped and the spirits began to flow freely into the waiting dry fruits mixture, everyone got into the task with gusto, working to ensure that none of the liquor flowed out.
After some vigorous mixing, the by-now sloshed dry fruits were carefully put away in haandis and sealed with cling wrap to rest till a week before Christmas.
The containers will be turned once in a fortnight to allow the liquor to coat all the fruits.
For British architect David and wife Christina Slater, who are on a business trip, the ceremony came as a pleasant surprise. Happily dipping his hands into the fruity mixture, David says that after mixing small mounds of fruits back home, this was an "unexpected treat".
Julius Fernandes, General Manager, The Residency, Coimbatore, says the fruit mixing ceremony, besides in keeping with tradition, also serves as an opportunity to bring people together.
This 300-kilo dry fruit mixture, flush with red and black currants, sultanas, dry apples, crystallised pineapples, ginger chips, orange peel, candied fruits, dry cherries and varieties of nuts, will be used to make about 500 kg of plum cake, plum pudding and the special Christmas night gateaux.
This year, Bakers Corner at The Residency will showcase 20 new varieties of cakes and pies for Christmas and New Year. The Christmas sale starts from December 20.
SUBHA J RAO
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