When you get the munchies and have nothing to munch on, things can get out of hand. And if the urge strikes in the middle of a work day, you will dash across to the nearest bakery and wolf down a few samosas, never mind the time or exertion. ‘That’s the third time this week I’ve felt hungry at the wrong time. Better eat more lunch,” you say to yourself, somehow proud with the solution to over-eat.
On the other hand, if you’re hungry at night, there’s almost never anything of interest in the fridge. “Bread and chocolate, again?” you think aloud. While I’m a huge advocate of chocolate spread and its infinite superpowers, one does get bored. We’ve established two problems now -- ill-timed hunger and the repetitive slice of bread.
Let’s tackle both the problems, at the same time.
Belly & Soul, a monthly assortment of sweet and savoury home-baked goodies, which can be picked up from locations across the city once a month, is a great solution. There were two things about Belly & Soul that caught my eye; the first was that the box is called the Belly Box; and second, you never know what’s in the box till you receive it!
Belly & Soul was started by Aparna George, two years back, after she decided she needed a break from 11 years in the corporate world. “A few months into my leave I started baking for my kids and I started experimenting with help from online resources,” says Aparna. She decided to channelise her interest in baking commercially, after she received encouraging feedback at a baking event. “I didn’t want to open a physical store, and I liked the idea of a belly box. There were similar concepts in the US where people would collate items from different bakers and put it together in a box. I decided to take it a step further and make it a surprise,” she reveals.
The box is made once a month, usually the third Friday, and people are notified through message blasts on Facebook, WhatsApp, or over e-mail. Orders are taken a week in advance (the next Belly Box is out on April 24). “I’ve been balancing with the flavors, keeping it fresh with an assortment of things that people can’t find in one place and are otherwise cumbersome to make at home. For example, the March Belly box had a passion fruit cupcake which is quite rare, along with peanut butter and chocolate cookie cups, lemon and honey semolina cake, assorted baked doughnuts, and oven-dried tomato and Mozzarella quick bread,” explains Aparna. Apart from the monthly boxes, she also works on themed holiday boxes like Christmas and Diwali boxes.
Each box costs Rs 550 and has on an average four to six items with two to three pieces of each, which makes the quantity good for a small family, or for a person with ill-timed hunger pangs.
“What keeps people coming back is the fact they like what they eat, and they enjoy the assortment and the variety. In fact, I still get orders from people who have been with me from the first box,” she says.
“I wanted the name to be honest and straightforward. My cooking offers wholesome home food, and it’s something that fills your belly and nourishes your soul,” signs off Aparna.