“Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture.”- Mark Kurlansky
Once upon a time in China…
Amongst the many interesting aspects of the Chinese culture, their dessert is one of them. The famous Nian Gao also known as the Chinese New Year cake is mostly consumed during this auspicious period. What differs it from other cakes is the presence of glutinous rice, which gives it a sticky texture.
Now I know what all of you are thinking, I have to make a trip down to the Asian market, well lucky for you the answer is no. The ingredients used to make this cake are common ingredients used in any cake batter such as butter, eggs, milk, sugar and baking soda and to add a little ‘culture’ in it, red beans are added. Like any other cake it takes time to prepare and needs to be baked.
There are many versions to make this cake especially in the North and the South of China but its history and its symbolism almost makes it a national dessert. With the Chinese New Year approaching the Nian Gao is a perfect dessert to make for your friends and family or you can even gift it, according to the Chinese people this cake is a symbol for prosperity when consumed during the auspicious time which makes it a popular gift item.
From China we now travel to the west and stop at the 2nd mouth-watering destination; Ukraine. The famous Kiev cake is a dessert originated from Ukraine and has become one of the symbols for Ukraine’s capital city; Kiev. The main ingredients found in this cake are hazelnuts, chocolate and meringue. For those of you who don’t know, meringue is a mixture of sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar and vinegar it is a type of dessert that is mostly seen in French and Swiss cuisines. Meringue is a fundamental ingredient in making a Kiev cake; it contributes to the creamy texture of the cake. It looks something like this.
How yummy does this look? Who would mind having your fingers taste like vanilla? I wouldn’t!!
The Kiev cake contains layers of meringue, butter cream and sponge cake, sounds very creamy doesn’t it? Most of the time it is a good thing but many people don’t really like eating alot of creamy stuff. I wanted to try it for myself so I went down to a Russian café in Queensway- London called Kalinka. I ordered a piece of Kiev cake and it tasted crunchy, buttery and creamy all at the same time! I enjoyed it and would recommend everyone to try it!
We’ve covered 2 mouth- watering destinations, stay tuned for the next post as i will cover two other mouth-watering destinations. Which two countries should we visit next?