White Brick Wall, a multi-designer shop in Panaji, Goa, was launched around a month ago. I was headed to Goa for the long weekend and Shamoli, the co-owner & founder invited me to an event – the launch of their designer bakeware collection. This time it wasn’t because I was a blogger, but because I was a friend 🙂 But before I seem like I’m being partial, the title of the event was — Cupcakes, Cookies and Chai at White Brick Wall. Now that level of deliciousness is not something I can resist, can you? I’m not a chai person but the two words ‘Cupcakes’ and ‘Cookies’ had me hooked. I must tell you, all my weaknesses start from C — cupcakes, cakes, cookies & anything with chocolate in the name. I might have been one of the first few to say I’m “Going” on Facebook. (Yes, I never learn — read why here)
Sunday began early, and after a lazy, Goan first half where we pretty much did nothing but have breakfast & then lunch, we got ready for the launch event and drove down from our lovely homestay at Arpora (more about that later) to Panaji. We were late and I was a little anxious that we would miss something… I don’t know what, but something. Then again, as you know from my post last week, launch events don’t have a starting time but I had obviously not learnt from my own experience… (or my blog!) We searched around a bit, Google Maps had taken us on a ride to another part of Panaji, so we finally called and got directions. One turn down a main road, and there in a tiny lane, opposite Cafe Tato’s sat White Brick Wall, with its lovely display of blue, pink and yellow paper decorations . We opened the door and trooped in, though unsure how launches in stores really take place! There were people all over making this snug shop seem even cosier.
The centre display and piece de résistance (according to me) was this large array of goodies sourced from local bakers and bakeries – Anisha, Anuradha, Desiree, Sneha of Marc Brown and Vandana of Cafe Bodega. I only got to meet the first three and they were a delightful lot. And as with all home bakers, they were from different backgrounds, life-stages and age-groups — united in their desire to engage the senses. Let me now take you through all that was on offer; more than enough for me to lose sight of any diet I was following, had followed or will ever follow. There were a range of cookies – the chunky chocolate chip, a delicious mild ginger, a delicate lime and the shrewsbury — or that’s what the ‘brought-up-on-Kayani-Bakery’ part of me thought! The cupcakes were varied from the simple lemon flavoured to the pizza inspired muffin, from the sinful chocolate cupcakes to the careful bite-sized red velvet cupcakes. Or you could simply lose your tongue in the soft and delicious New York Cheesecake. If you are a brownie person you might just have thought you were in heaven. There were brownies in different sizes, dimensions, softness, sweetness and toppings! From the ‘crisp surface yet soft interior’ regular brownie, to the cookie shaped brownie-biscuit and the classic cheese brownie and for the Oreo Addict, even an Oreo Cheesecake. I tried as many as I could in multiple sittings, one could say! I particularly loved the ginger cookies — as boring as I may end up sounding, they were my favourite of the night. I must admit it was super tough to take pictures. Everytime I went close enough, I could smell the vanilla, chocolate and other intermingling flavours. I had to tell myself not to chuck the camera to one side and gobble up YET another piece. It was hilarious to see everyone walking around and trying to be well-behaved and not grab another piece. I’m sure everyone went home with a super sugar high!
And there was also chai. Some rose flavoured olong tea by Tea Trunk, to wash down all the sweetness of the cupcakes and cookies with its clear, crisp flavour. Snigdha, the founder of Tea Trunk, was walking around ensuring people were brewing the tea just right & that the water was at the right temperature. I guess, the job of a tea sommelier does not end with choosing and packing the tea especially when you’re around customers while they drink your tea. You cannot but try and ensure people drink it right but at the same time, in the manner they like. A confusing dilemma I think!
And finally, the reason we were all there. The launch of the designer bakeware collection. There was a wealth of baking equipment from basic spatulas and whisks, to liners and large trays & display units. There were moulds of many shapes and sizes – including the ginger-bread man; I somehow have a thing for ginger-bread men because of all the stories from childhood. The French wooden rolling pins made me think of Julia Child. And the complete baking sets for children were really cute – with apron and all! There were metal measures or spoons which would even look pretty as pen stands. The cake stands in bright colours caught everyone’s attention and I even overheard this comment, “Oh everything here is SO CUTE!” And that might alienate some bakers who are not into cute stuff, but there was a lot of functional equipment too like the funnel with measuring hole, not sure what it’s called but someone thought it was very useful, “This funnel type equipment, very convenient to get the same amount of cookie dough with each squeeze, no need to measure.” (I eavesdrop a LOT; occupational hazard. I get my meat from the horse’s mouth!) I messaged my baker friend to ask if she needed anything along with some photographs and pat came the reply, “It feels like you are outside India and asking me. Lots of good stuff.”
There were also amazing clay crockery pieces sourced from Auroville (I think.) — handcrafted earth I call it! What I particularly liked were these frames that said “Good things come to those who bake.” Hear, hear I say. Glad it didn’t qualify the kind or expertise of the baker. So even if I bake once in a ‘red’ moon, I can still expect good stuff to happen! The best comment was from one of the bakers, “So glad this shop’s opened here, now I don’t need to go out of town for my bakeware.”
It was such an interesting interplay — the bakers watching faces to see how people reacted with the first bite, the tea sommelier gauging our reactions from the first sip and the shop owners hoping people bought a lot of the equipment! And if I were to judge from the number of people at the counter & and crowds they brought in and the smiles on everyone’s faces, I think everyone did a really well… The success of the event could be summed up by this comment, “You guys have done a great job to get so many (lazy) Goans out on a Sunday afternoon”
A few more pictures about the overall store – presenting White Brick Wall by Shamoli & Liesel.
Each of the baker’s names have been hyperlinked to their page / blog / instagram. You can contact Anuradha @ radhi dot sahasrabuddhe @ gmail dot com.