One of the many unique attractions of Kolkata is the delicious ‘mishti’ (sweet) available here. Delightfully soft, delicately sweetened and sometimes flavoured with exotic ingredients – Kolkata’s sweet dishes have patrons all over the world!
Bengalis are extremely proud of their iconic sweets. If you ever stroll through the old-world streets of Kolkata in the morning, you’ll surely give in to the temptation of freshly made, hot jilipi and pantua – like hundreds of native Bengalis do on a regular basis! Devouring sweets is a gastronomic experience no tourist should miss! But before we list down some of the must-try sugary delights, let us first trace the journey of mishti.
Evolution of Bengali Sweets:
Throughout Bengal’s history, sweets have occupied a prominent position in Bengali cuisine. Many believe that ancient Bengal was given the name ‘Gauda Bangla’ owing to the abundant ‘gur’ or molasses production and usage in this part of India. In fact, the earliest Bengali sweets feature delicious jaggery (gur) and ground coconut. ‘Chhana’ or cottage cheese got popular in the sweet industry after colonial invasions.
Some traditional, homemade Bengali sweets that have been loved since the days of yore are pithe, payesh and patishapta. While pithe is made with rice paste and filled with crushed coconut sweetened using jaggery, payesh is a delectable sweet dish prepared with milk, rice, raisins and gur, if available. In fact, it is customary for a Bengali mother to make payesh for her children on their birthday.
The credit of introducing chhana in Bengali sweet-making goes to the Portuguese confectioners. In the 17th century, Portuguese invaders settled down in different parts of Kolkata. Sweets made with curdled milk or cottage cheese was very popular among them. According to Hindu customs, adding acidic substances to milk was forbidden. However, slowly the Bengali sweet makers learned the unique art of curdling milk, and soon they began churning out mouth-watering delicacies, such as sandesh and rosogollas.
5 Exclusive Sweets to Try in Kolkata:
Pantua: When a dollop of chhana is drenched with cardamom-flavoured, sugary syrup and deep fried to perfection, it creates an unforgettable experience! No matter how many we gulp down, we can never get enough of its rich colour and tantalizing taste!
Raj Bhog: Raj Bhog is similar to roshogolla, but bigger and tastier! The rich flavour of saffron and dry fruits will surely win your heart!
Malai Chom Chom: Malai Chom Chom tastes like bliss! These beautiful sweets are prepared by filling utterly tender roshogollas with smooth, chilled cream, which are garnished with saffron, pistachio, rose and love!
Jalbhara Sandesh: Jalbhara sandesh is named so because of its juicy centre filled with liquid ‘Nolen gur’. According to legend, Chandannagar’s Bandyopadhay family ordered these sweets for their son-in-law on the occasion of ‘Jamai Sasthi’ and when he bit into this sweet shaped like a ‘tal’ (palm fruit), the sweet jaggery oozed out, pleasing him immensely!
Chhanar Jilipi: This tempting sweet is rich in chhana and fried in ghee! Flavoured with cardamom and made wonderfully juicy, it melts in our mouth and leaves a lingering taste.
A Sweet Trip to Kolkata:
We at Hotel VIP International believe that your trip to Kolkata should be as pleasurable as the famous sweets of this city! That’s why we ensure that your stay in our hotel is rich in relaxation and quality services. Being one of the top 10 hotels in Kolkata, we offer several desirable facilities to our customers, like free WiFi and complimentary breakfast! So next you visit the city of joy, drop by this 3 start hotel in Kolkata near Park Street.
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