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  • Anand Puri

Swiss Whispers and The Origins of Trincas

Updated: 47 minutes ago

Read the first part HERE It’s 5 AM on a morning in June 2020. If you’re from Kolkata, you’ll know that dawn comes early here, especially in summer.

A perfect sky is soft-lit by the rising sun and has faint scratchings of cloud floating like mere wisps of stories now spent. I’m sure the clouds will rebuild and travel, like stories do. This is Bengal after all and clouds are the romance-within for us all.

Here’s a story re-built then. History reconstructed from pictures and information that have come to light after decades.

The beginning of the Trincas Timeline Project and a serendipitous meeting late in 2019 with a Swiss couple brought to light pictures, verified information, and old but relevant news about the history of Trincas and it’s original owners.

Sitting at a table in the now legendary restaurant in December 2019, I learn a lot more over the course of the evening: Quinto Cinzio Trinca was born in 1896 in Poschiavo, Switzerland. He ventured out to India some time in the 1920s - a move that was considered daring, ambitious and reckless at the time.

In 1927 he joined with another compatriot Joseph Flury and his wife Freida to start a Swiss Confectionery and Tea Room on Park Street in British Calcutta.

Over the years, the business thrived, had a loyal clientele and was even mentioned in the foreign press (see picture below).

The Trinca-Flury partnership broke up in 1939 due to unknown reasons and Cinzio Trinca and his wife Lilly moved Trinca’s Tea Room and Confectionery diagonally across the street to it's current location at 17 Park Street.

20 years later in 1959, Trinca sold his business to Omi Puri and Ellis Joshua. He had been adamant the Tearoom be passed on within the Jewish community in Calcutta and Joshua’s presence in the new partnership was reassurance of that. The Trincas were in their sixties when they decided to sail back to Switzerland in 1960. They had lived an exciting life far from home, weathered World War II in a foreign country, seen Partition and the collapse of the British Empire in India and watched a new nation take shape.

In 1961, Cinzio Trinca bought another tearoom in Pfäffikon in the Canton of Zürich. Five years later in 1964 the couple chose to retire comfortably. In 1975 both passed peacefully within months of each other, having lived long and fulfilling lives.


In a slower world, where handwritten letters took weeks if not months to traverse the globe, one wonders if the Trincas kept in contact with their friends in the far-flung east? Did they hear of how their establishment metamorphosed in the 1960s? I wonder if they ever imagined that their beloved Confectionery & Tea Room would one day be linked to legend; that urban folklore would carry the name "Trinca" in so many stories, and that several generations and almost a hundred years later, it would remain imprinted on the living conscience of an entire city…



Published in Switzerland in October 1937

The Tearoom in Pfäffikon, Switzerland
The Tearoom in Pfäffikon, Switzerland

Missed the first part of the story? READ IT HERE

Epilogue This story originated as part of a Community Based Memory Project. The more this story is shared, the more people write in to Trincas, the more history gets recorded and is accessible to all Facts and stories are often misremembered and forgotten unless preserved in articles like these and from the memories of Calcuttans now spread across the world. If you have any old photographs or recollections about Trincas from any point in time, please, please write in to and I will be happy to paint a picture with a magic brush to enliven the past and (hopefully) preserve it for years to come.

Feel free to click through to the other stories attached to this one. Enjoy, and please do daydream!

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