Of Sweets and My Sweet Tooth
Being a true blue Bong, and having been brought up in Kolkata, its but natural that I have a craving for all things sweet. My favourite course of any meal is the dessert, where I usually end up ordering something chocolatey. If I am hungry for a quick bite and I spot a sweet shop, I will invariably hop in and gorge on the sweet platters on display. During Durga Puja,while pandal hopping, I usually end up having sweets and snacks for breakfast, lunch and as evening bite,too.
All actors worth their salt, while touring the city of Kolkata for promotions etc of their new release, always end up declaring “I love misti and misti doi” and expect the sweet-loving community to make their movies box-office hit. Not only actors, authors, politicians, diplomats etc, whoever visits the city, never leaves it without proclaiming his love for Bengali sweets. But I sincerely wish they would go beyond Rosogolla and also name Nalen Gur-er Sandesh, Langcha, Dorbesh, Chamcham, Komolabhog, Sharbhaja, Roshomalai etc as their favourite Bengali sweet.
My Tam Brahm friend, who is born and brought up in Kolkata, swears by Bengali sweets more than a lot of my Bengali friends. So, its not always about one being a Bengali by birth, but also being one in spirits. 🙂 Whenever, we used to visit her house, we used to be treated to awesome Misti Doi after a meal of Rasam, Sambhar, Lemon rice, Dosa. Idli and other South Indian dishes. I must say, it used to be a perfect Bong end to a perfect South Indian meal. Before she left the city for London, she used to gorge on her favourite sweets everyday, and I am sure, of the many things she misses of India and home, Bengali sweets are surely one of them.
Although I am partial to Bong sweets for obvious reasons, I am also open to sweets of other corners of my country. When I was staying in Delhi for internship, I visited Ghantewala in Chandni Chowk for their famous Sohan Halwa and bought quite a gramful of it for home. I also enjoyed their Karachi Halwa, a soft orange flavoured sweet, laced with dry fruits.
Kulfi and Jalebi are two other sweets, by which I swear. Another South Indian friend of mine once brought a sweet called Mysore Pak, which ultimately became a must-bring stuff for us, whenever she returned from a trip from her home. Similarly, another friend always used to be pestered for her home-made Gajar Halwa, which used to be consumed almost at a blink-and-you-miss speed by us. It was not surprising that her mother packed a boxful of gajar ke halwa for all of us when we met recently for Convocation after one year 🙂
I had an unforgettable lunch experience at Rajdhani Thali in Mumbai, which introduced me to the amazing Shrikhand. Another such awesome sweet is Shahi Tukra, which my mom can prepare well. She can also prepare absolutely mouth-watering Malpoa and Potol Misti (Parwal, or [Pointed Gourd in English) stuffed with sweet fillings], along with Patisapta (a pancake roll with a coconut and jaggery filling) and Pithe-Puli, sweets traditionally prepared on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.
During my recent trip to Burdwan for work, I ended up buying loads of langcha from Shaktigarh and Mihidana and Sitabhog from Burdwan, both places famous for these sweets respectively. Both the counsel and I enjoyed hearty doses of these sweets on our way to and back from Burdwan court. It can truly be said in our case, that we mixed business with gastronomic pleasure.
A post on sweets can be never-ending but for more information on famous Kolkata sweetshops, you can read my post here.