Solace in winter: Coffee, cake pops and a warm table.

Imagine walking down the cold streets of Ukraine. The wind is blowing and the temperature keeps dropping with every step you take. You realize you forgot your hat in all the rush. Now your ears start to burn from the extreme cold.

You feel like you are Dicaprio from The Revenant. Struggling to survive and there might be a bear waiting for you just around the corner. Your fingertips start igniting into flames from how cold it is. And now you wonder: "What is the closest thing to a cozy fireplace in this concrete jungle full of high rise buildings?"

Of course! Trusty old Kulinchi! Named after a far off village in Kharkov. Kulinichi has become a household name in the country. People from all around come to Kharkov just to gift their taste buds the privilege of the local confectionary and bakery. You can bet you will always find a Kulinichi no matter which deserted corner you are in, as long as the corner is in Kharkov.

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Holiday season is on. And so are the preparations. Kulinichis are usually bland and a typical resting spot away from all the noise and extra-ness of the city. But who can shy away from the season vibe?

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The local confectionary and bakery has completely transformed itself relevant to the occasion. A beautiful santa-dwarf morph is there to welcome you to the warm and cozy Kulinichi as soon as you step in. Standing outside its chocolate hut and a sweet heart shaped candy in its hands, almost engulfed in its white long beard.

Their is a festive vibe to the whole place. Decorations on the windows and ceilings consume you instantly and there is no way you would feel left out...no matter how lonely you are.
That took a sad turn, didn't it?




In the recent past, Kulinichi decided to make the move from a traditional Ukrainian look to a more modernly influenced interior. It included false ceilings including criss-cross designs that also hide the ventilation and air conditioners. This is a signature look and can be found in every Kulinichi around the city.

The low hanging lamps are strategically placed above each seating arrangement. There are spotlights shining at the menu to make it easier for customers; which I believe also shortens the time it takes to choose and allows the store to serve more customers in a shorter time.

The furniture has been upgraded to match a European look at all stores and are rather comfortable compared to what they used to be. The thing that still remains the same, in relation to decor, is the brown accents you will find placed either within furniture or boards. Its a Kulinichi thing.




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Their products are always on display, but as far as I can remember, you were never allowed to touch anything as long as you hadn't bought it. It was always sanitary, covid or not.

However, due to the pandemic, they have added glass barriers between the cashier and the customer. They also incline towards payment through card. And everything is served in brown paper bags rather than their usual white plates.

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This year they have added so many new things to their arsenal. So many new pastries that I don't think I have ever seen in Kulinichi, before. I do remember they had tons of baked items. Ranging from the usual croissant to "trigonchik", whatever that is.




I used to love taking my breaks in Kulinichi and enjoyed freshly baked, cripsy and hot sloika with cheese along with a cup of black tea topped with freshly minced mint. But this visit, I didn't even look at the baked goods. My eyes were glued to the new items they had.

Even if you don't have a sweet tooth, tell me with a straight face this doesn't look tempting.

It looks so fresh. So soft in this middle with a crispy top. You know it is considered sweet, but at the same time you know it is not going to be too sweet.

If I remember right, it is honey based.



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As soon as I got over the distractions, which wasn't very soon, I decided it was time to order. I wanted a classic americano and a cup of latte. The festivities caught up to me an I adventured into trying something new.

These:
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They looked very...christmasy. I am not sure what really tempted me to try them. But hey, that is the #foodie in me.


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Here is a picture of Natalia. My barista of the day. Sweet and patient, as always.


The coffee cups came in beautifully printed paper cups. Something to add to the whole winter vibe. I appreciate the time they took into making something so simple into art. Something for us, customers, to smile about. It reminded me to stay indoors and enjoy my hot cup of coffee for as long as I could. Before I return to the ice cold winter.


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...

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There is nothing much to discuss about the coffee. It is your regular grinded and roasted coffee. Nothing extraordinary. Enough to keep you going. Hey, at least its not mcdonald's coffee. No cardboard aftertaste in these bad boys.




The real stars of the day is the "Pop Cakes". The impulse buy of the day.

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Brilliantly colored. Served upside down with a stick. Sprinkled with love. Looking as mouth watering as possible.

They looked rather simple to make at the first glance. However, appreciating the beauty of them was a must.


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The cake pops costed me $0.50 a piece. I went along with a chocolate covered pop with purple sprinkles and a white covered pop with green sprinkles.
The ribbons were not of my choosing.



They may look cold. But the were of just below room temperature and not chilly at all. As expected, the first bite is crunchy and digs past into a soft inner filling. What was unexpected was the inside.

The inside was, what felt like, a fine mix of sugar (probably brown), flour, coconut and nuts. I am not a fan of coconut. But the flavor was so light it almost made the perfect mix.

The colors were fantastic. And right in the core was a soft sweet ball. I loved the blend of flavors. The merge between crisp and soft was a wonderful experience.


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All said and done, it was the perfect solace in middle of a cold winter night in Ukraine.
Feels cozy, doesn't it?



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