JOURNEY WITH SWEETS
“I am not a vegetarian ! I am a dessertarian” – Bill Watterson.
The best destination for sweet loving Bengalis is Kolkata. Whoever comes to Kolkata definitely keeps “Bengali Sweets” in his or her to-do list. Sweets are loved by every Bengalis and anyone visiting Kolkata cannot leave the city without relishing the sweet delicacies. It will be a sacrilege to not have sweets in Kolkata. So here comes the 6 tempting sweets of Kolkata :-
1. Rosogolla – This sweet – spongy, soft – round, dumplings soaked in sugar syrup have become an icon of Bengali Cuisine. It does not sound like a typical sweet, as it is made up of cottage cheese that is formed into balls and soaked in a chilled sweet syrup. These are easily available in each and every sweet shops but K.C. Das is famous for their rosogollas which is close to the hearts of all the Kolkatans.
2. Mishti Doi - Mishti doi is a fermented sweet doi (yogurt). This type of yogurt is common in the states of West Bengal and Odisha in India, and in Bangladesh. It is made with milk and sugar/jaggery. It differs from the plain yogurt because of the technique of preparation. Mitha dahi is prepared by boiling milk until it is slightly thickened, sweetening it with sugar, either guda/gura (brown sugar) or khajuri guda/gura (date molasses), and allowing the milk to ferment overnight.
The chain of Annapurna Sweets in West Bengal and Delhi is known for its mishti doi. As dahi is also considered auspicious in Hindu religion, it is also prepared on festive occasions and celebrations like Durga Puja and Diwali.
Kolkata is the city of festivals. Every day is a celebration in Kolkata. The best time to visit the city is during Durga Puja which generally takes place between September and October. Malpua and Labanga Latika are one of the famous sweets prepared in many houses during Durga Puja.
3. Malpua – It is a soft Indian pancake dipped in sweet saffron syrup with a dash of cardamom seasoning becomes malpua is one of a kind specially in Durga Puja when it comes to sweet tooth. It is a very popular dish of Odisha and is also served to Lord Jagannath of Puri in his Sakala Dhupa (morning food served to the lord).
4. Labanga Latika - Bongs are known across India (and outside) for their sweets. Labanga Latika is one of those. Generally made after Durga puja for celebrating Bijoya Dasami where folks visit the house of neighbors and family to seek blessings from the elders. The elders (generally grandmas) greet them with sweet dish, which often includes Labanga Latika.
Labanga Latika gets its name from Labanga or clove. It’s crispy and has a stuffing of grated coconut. It’s not that hard to make either.
5. Kaju Barfi – It is one of the most popular sweet which is gifted to relatives and friends during Diwali festivals which is made with cashew and sugar. If one stay in West Bengal then during diwali festivals one must receive a box of kaju barfi or dry fruits as a gift.
6. Nolen Gurer Souffle – You must have heard of Souffle, but have you heard of Nolen Gurer Souffle? This is one of the desert trending nowadays. The word “nolen gur” is enough to make all Bengalis nostalgic. The date palm jiggery is an intense part of our (Bengali) culture and for some foodies like me, is synonymous to winter. Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick is famous for their nolen gurer soufflé.
And to conclude I must quote –
“Dessert is like a feel-good song and the best ones make you dance.”
“Life is Short, Eat Dessert First.”