I have always loved doughnuts! What’s NOT to love about these cute, chunky things with a mysterious hole in the centre… dusted with sugar, filled with jam, covered in glaze or stuffed to the gills with custard crème? Bring ‘em on!
Some doughnut experiences have been more memorable than others. Like the one in Melbourne! It used to be a small, scrubby window right next to Footscray Station. Behind this, a portly Vietnamese lady (she was probably as fond of her doughnuts as we were!) would take a fresh, warm doughnut in her hand, fill it with jam from a dolphin-shaped piping nozzle, fling it briefly on a bed of fine sugar and hand it over to us in a serviette… all that theatre and deliciousness for a mere 50 cents! During those hectic Uni days of juggling classes, group assignments, waitressing jobs and checkout chick woes, these doughnuts played various roles in our lives – as breakfast, on-the-go snack, BYOB house party desserts, night caps, and even self-congratulatory awards on clearing term papers :)
More recently it was a funny episode in NYC. At Penn Station to see off my sister who was on her way to Boston, we decided to have ourselves a little farewell party with an Original Glazed each from the crowded Krispy Kreme store… and in the process almost missed her train! Remembering that mad dash through the milling crowds of the station still gets me chuckling… :D
Now, after several years of that happy-scary incident, Krispy Kreme has landed in my own city, Mumbai. For now, it’s one gleaming factory store that serves you the most beautiful, fragrant, hot and fresh doughnuts, (including an eggless option for just the Indian market) and lets you gawp at the entire assembly line process of how it is being made, right in front of your nose!
And it seems there is no end to Krispy Kreme stories everywhere. On the day of the first Krispy Kreme store launch in the ‘smart’ neighbourhood of Powai – IIT-Mumbai’s venerable and sprawling campus is right next door ;) – I turned up at the venue to see a few hundred people queued outside already. Ok, so I was not alone, big deal, right? Wrong!
A bunch of guys had appeared at 11.30 pm the previous night, and had been camping there all night, waiting for the store to open at 10 am! Since he wasn’t going anywhere just yet, I spoke to Ashish, the first guy in queue, and got his story out. An employee of CRISIL, he had first heard of the Krispy Kreme doughnuts when the fliers started popping into their office nearby a couple of weeks ago. He had made up his mind to be the first in queue then itself. Isn’t 12 hours before store opening kinda early to get there?, I ask cheekily. Nope, Ashish replies, not if you want to be the winner of the Golden Ticket that entitles you to a year long supply of free doughnuts! Ok, I agree, that’s incentive enough :)
Yes, there is something special about Krispy Kreme. The Original Glazed Doughnut is the world’s favourite doughnut for a good reason… it is simply THAT good! And my first bite from my own oven-fresh Original Glazed, handed to me as I entered the store, somehow tasted even more lip-smackingly delicious! But why this looooong a wait for Mumbai? Bangaloreans have been gorging on their Krispy Kremes for over a year now, and showing off their 10 spanking stores!
Peter King, Vice President, Asia Pacific, takes off his tailored suit jacket to stay sane under a 38 degree sun, and replies cheerfully, with a wink ‘Sabr Ka Phal Meetha Hota Hai’ (translated literally it means ‘Sweet is the fruit of patience!’) Impressive! Dollars to doughnuts, I didn’t see that one coming ;)
Impressive was also the large flash mob that gathered out of nowhere and did a high-energy jig to Pharrell Williams ‘Happy’, getting the waiting crowd clapping and cheering along.
I may not have been the happiest when crawling out of bed at an unearthly 7 am to get to faraway Powai for the launch. But I sure as hell left happy. Of course, it had a lot to do with my happy box of doughnuts. But I was happier because, in 2 weeks, I would have a Krispy Kreme store in my own neighbourhood, Bandra – one that I can leisurely stroll to in 5 mins. Happy anticipation!