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Food blog #2: Chris's cake countdown

View Kathmandu to Kuala Lumpur 2011 on Chris Parsons's travel map.

#10: Cherry Sponge, Elgin Hotel, Darjeeling
A straightforward Victoria sponge, thinly sliced, served with shortbread biscuits. Cake a little on the stale side, but bonus points are awarded for style. Served at your armchair by deferential waiters in Raj-era uniforms, plus the cake was replenished for free.

#9: Chocolate Brownie, Braga Bakery
A fine establishment on the Annapurna Circuit but capable of much better fare than this. The brownie was generously proportioned, but more of a chocolate sponge, and a dense, dry one at that. Jen speaks highly of their chocolate cake though.

#8: Chocolate Apple Crumble, Nilgiri View Restaurant, Jomsom
A local speciality in an area famous for its apple orchards. Nothing wrong with the apples here, nor the crumble topping, but rock-hard pastry base and chocolate layer were like an unwelcome guest at a party.

#7: Chocolate Brownie, Xanadu Hotel, Jomsom
We sniffed out this gem of a place on a pudding hunt. Two chocolate apple crumbles in one afternoon seemed excessive so we both opted for the brownie. Again, more of a sponge cake texture, but this time delightfully light and fluffy, served warm and topped with roasted nuts. Marked down for tiny portion size - I could have eaten two.

Mingma's "Happy Trek" cake

Mingma's "Happy Trek" cake

#6: Phurbar's Chocolate Cake, Lokpa, Nepal/Mingma's "Happy Trek" Cake, Sachen, Sikkim
It's traditional on the final night of a camping trek for the cook to produce his piece de resistance: a huge cake. We had two fine examples in Nepal and India, both so good that it's impossible to separate them. Phurbar and Mingma both score highly for the surprise value and skill in baking on a camping stove, as well as the delicious taste and texture.

#5: Opera Cake, Banjyan Cafe, Pokhara
I was sold on the window display, and this masterful cake did not disappoint. Like something served up at a Viennese gourmet cafe, this was a complex creation with alternating layers of vanilla sponge and creamy mocha filling, topped with dark chocolate marbled icing.

The cake connoisseur approves of the Gangapurna Hotel's concoction

The cake connoisseur approves of the Gangapurna Hotel's concoction

#4: Apple Crumble, Gangapurna Hotel, Yak Kharka
Once tasted (in my case, in March 2007), never forgotten. Still as good as ever - an amazingly deep filling of apple and cinnamon topped with delicate crumble. Served in meal-sized portions - this could finish off your trekking for the day. Jen reports that their chocolate cake is a winner too.

#3: New York Cheesecake, Roadhouse Cafe, Kathmandu
A taste of pure heaven when I first tasted it 3 years ago, the anticipation this time round was almost unbearable. Still very good - creamy, excellently flavoured filling and a Buttery Biscuit Base (copyright Greg Wallacewww.youtube.com/watch?v=IfeyUGZt8nk) - but it sadly failed to live up to the hype. Still one of the best things about Kathmandu though.

#2: Chocolate Brownie, Cafe Concerto, Pokhara
The combination of warm brownie and ice-cream is hard to beat and this came with caramel sauce too! The brownie had the perfect melt-in-your-mouth consistency and the ice-cream was top drawer. Jen reckons the Roadhouse Cafe version, served on a sizzling plate, is even better, and that's saying something.

#1: Apple Pie, Braga Bakery
The quintessential Annapurna Circuit dessert, perfected over decades of experimentation. Generous crusty pastry (the best I have ever tasted in Nepal) and a filling that bursts with apple and cinnamon flavours. Somebody should fly Mr Kipling to Nepal to show him the meaning of "deep-filled". Too good to share (sorry Jen).

Posted by Chris Parsons 21:11 Archived in Nepal Tagged food india nepal

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