‘MIXING HAPPINESS’ with ‘CAKE MIXING’ at Hotel Ocean Pearl Prior to Christmas Season

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‘MIXING HAPPINESS’ with ‘CAKE MIXING’ at Hotel Ocean Pearl Prior to Christmas Season

Mangaluru: As they say that “Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth”- but in this case here “Too Many Bakers Surely Didn’t Spoil the Cake Mixing”, instead they will be creating some fantastic and delicious cakes come Christmas time. Wouldn’t it be fun to mix lots of colourful cherries, dates, plums and dry fruits with your favourite drinks? However, the treat is not to savour immediately but to keep ready for the festive season. With around 35 plus days left for Christmas and New Year, the city’s premier Hotel Ocean Pearl began its celebrations with the cake-mixing ceremony, which was graced by guests of honour, special invitees executive and an in-house staff of the hotel and media personnel and the best part was that they were all geared up with aprons, caps and gloves to take part in the fun-filled ceremony.

 

As per sources, the History of the cake-mixing ceremony dates back to the 17th century, when it marked the arrival of the harvest season. During this time lots of fruits and nuts were harvested and prepared to go into the making of the traditional plum cake. The mix was saved up for the next harvest season with the hope that the coming year would bring with it another abundant year. This ceremony quickly metamorphosed into a close affair, with the family sitting together and soaking dry fruits in wine or rum and hoping that the fine flavour fills their Christmas with delectable sweetness.

It was an unusual invitation for many guests on this Thursday, 17 November evening, being clad in a chef apron and a cap, where I was surprised to see the American/European tradition over here and was delighted to be part of the celebrations. Truly nice and colourful in the spirit of true Christmas. Fifty kilos of assorted dry fruits, dates, plums etc mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg and generous amounts of liquor like Rum, Brandy, Whiskey, and Red and White wine, and stored in a container until the festive season. The brands of spirits included Johny Walker Black label, Oaksmith, Ballentine’s, Jagermeister, Old Monk, Morpheus, Jack daniel’s, 2100 Piper, Teachers’, Ersitoff, and Port Wine, among others. This marinated assortment of dry fruits will be incorporated when the baking of plum cakes and puddings starts around 18-20 December. The longer the mix is kept, the tastier the cake will be, said one of the chefs of the hotel.

Yes, Christmas is no fun without the traditional Christmas cake; and making this cake is not a quick, easy simple step. Preparations begin months in advance. The first step towards making the cake is the mixing process, formally called the ‘Cake Mixing Ceremony’, a ritual religiously followed the world over and said to be a harbinger of good tidings and happiness. And locally, the management and staff of Hotel Ocean Pearl had its “Cake-Mixing Ceremony” today at the Pacific Hall. The traditional cake-mixing ceremony conducted every year by the Hotel over the last few years, saw the Chefs/bakers, managers, and guests equipped with gloves, and engaging themselves adding varied alcoholic beverages to a generous quantity of dry fruits, tossing and coating the entire mixture in a massive vessel. Wine, Rum, Vodka, and Whisky, along with mounds of black raisins, brown dates, red cherries, cashews, cardamom and other exotic spices went in the cake-mixing ceremony. The more to mix, the merrier the feat.

That done, Executive Chef Dewabrat Mandal, having 22 years of experience in India and abroad, and eight years at Hotel Ocean Pearl got his merry band of men in to complete the mixing as it was now all down to muscle power! A load of fun and a load of work, all amidst great cheer and fervour. The holiday season was rung in under the watchful eye of Dewabrat Mandar, summoned in by B N Girish -Vice President of the Hotel; Gangadhar- General Manager, Hotel Ocean Pearl; Milan Samuel- GM of Hotel Ocean Pearl Inn-Kapikad; each time before any culinary move was made! It should be noted that be it representing the harvest season or being a reason for a family gathering, the cake-mixing ceremony successfully marks the onset of the Christmas season. While the cake-mixing ritual has now acquired a social face, it has not diluted its religious importance, and it remains to be one of the most awaited events in the Christian household, which marks the onset of the Christmas season.

The respected Chief guest for the occasion was Fr Richard Coelho-Director of Father Charitable Institutions, Mangaluru, who was joined by other guests and hotel executive staff in pouring the required spirits, followed by thorough mixing.

Speaking on the occasion Fr Richard Coelho said, “In the Bible it is said that This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him, and to show Peace, Goodwill and love to one another. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we should spread love and happiness, and not hate, communal disharmony, jealousy etc. India being a civilized country, has become uncivilized as we see lots of communal tension, killings and hate. This Christmas while we share the cake, let us also share love, peace and happiness. Let us give our love as we celebrate fun during the Christmas season. Since this was my first experience being at a cake-mixing ceremony, I am overwhelmed and thank Girish and Hotel Ocean Pearl for making me part of the festive celebration”.

While the Cake mixing ceremony is a sort of warming up to Christmas time, it surely does more than just that. Addressing the gathering, BN Girish-Vice President of Ocean Pearl group said, ”This ceremony brings in the rhythm of Christmas, not only here at the Hotel, but all over the world. The efforts put in by the chefs and bakers behind this cake-mixing will make the cakes yummy. Like Fr Coelho said, Christmas is a festival of Love, Peace and Happiness, and at our Hotel, we too believe this and want to make Christmas, which is the biggest festival in the world, come alive at Hotel Ocean Pearl. The punchline of Ocean Pearl is to celebrate life, and we always try to put smiles on people’s faces. During the Christmas season, our chefs in the kitchen are busy creating a bunch of yummy goodies for your sweet tooth. This ceremony is basically to bring in the Christmas festive mood and make merry. People who will get these cakes during the festive season will be in for a pleasant surprise too. So if you want to celebrate Christmas in a joyous and fun ambience come to Hotel Ocean Pearl this Christmas season and New Year”.

General Manager of Ocean Pearl, Gangadhar speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “Though history talks about it as a harvest ceremony, however, today cake-mixing is seen more in the modern-day context. And celebrating it as an occasion of social gathering and celebration is more relevant. It is in itself very old and so it can too be called the history of the ceremony. This ritual marks the beginning of a very busy year for the baking industry. Hotels and bakeries celebrate it in a big way. The cake-mixing ceremony at our Hotel has become an event on the calendar when the staff bonds with each other. Donning gloves and red aprons, the ritual of pouring and mixing the wine into the chopped fruit is performed with much enthusiasm and gaiety. And the flavour of dry fruits mixing with wine is an experience in itself.”

Executive Chef Dewabrat Mandal said, “The entire mixture would be sealed in airtight containers and left to mature around Christmas. Around 20th December or so, the cake baking will start. This practice is followed in several western countries and it has become an annual celebratory ritual for us at Ocean Pearl. After the specified duration, the entire mixture is blended with cake batter and baked to unveil the traditional cake for the people. Nearly 12 assistant chefs/bakers will join me in creating the best cakes, which you will find nowhere. I cherish this celebration because it sets the festive mood. Though it doesn’t have any religious connotation, it continued as it is the first gathering“.

Guests of honour who also took part in the Cake-Mixing ceremony were Dr Sishir Shetty- Professor at AB Shetty Memorial Institute of Medical sciences; Gregory Mathais- Entrepreneur/Mathias Properties; Vinod Pinto -Builder; Dr Kelvin Pais- Liaison Officer, Father Muller Hospital; Dr Santhosh rai- Radiologist, KMC, Mangaluru; Ms Raksha of Celebrations Events; Laxman Kunder ( Managing Director-V4 News), among others. Lavita Menezes eloquently compered the programme.

Now that the cake-mixing is ready and delicious and yummy Christmas cakes will be created ten days before Christmas, Hotel Ocean Pearl requests all you cake lovers to stop by, at the Hotel, and take home one of their cakes meticulously prepared by the in-house chefs and bakers. Christmas has already come early at Hotel Ocean Pearl!

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