The city had not yet completely recuperated from the exhaustion caused by Durga Puja, and it is already swarming in preparations for yet another festive week of Diwali. Celebrations begin right from Dhan Teras and culminate into full frenzy until Bhai Dooj, when all the brothers will visit their married sisters to get a ‘phonta’(Tilak) from them. Like any other festivity, food is in the heart of Diwali celebrations too. People love to visit each other to render their best wishes for the coming year and every host enthusiastically waits on their guests with the most indulgent sweets.
Traditionally people preferred to prepare Diwali sweets at home. But with the same taste and quality available at some of the best sweet shops in the city, people have opened up to treat themselves to these sweets available in the market.
With Diwali marking the onset of winters, the hot favourite of the season is the ‘gond ke laddoo’ which in northern parts of the country are called ‘panjiree ke laddoo’. These laddoos are the first choice when people arrive at Gupta’s for buying sweets. The crunchy balls full of nutrition include all kinds of nuts and their sight is enough to make your mouth water.
At Balaram Mullick and Radharaman Mallick outlets, you get the most enviable ensemble of variations of chocolate infused into traditional sweets. You have chocolate sandesh, chocolate kalakand, chocolate and anjeer brownie and the list goes on.
Life in Kolkata would be different for people of North Indian origin, had Tiwari’s not been the sweet shop it is, since almost 5 decades. Kalakand and gulab jamun are the signature sweets here and are sold in hoards during the Diwali season. One must know that if you are buying from Tiwari’s, you can be rest assured about the freshness and taste because the sweets made here are in limited stock ensuring to be sold out within 24 hours.
If you want the rich nutty traditional desserts, Gokul Shree is the place to be. Sweets made out of khoya or mawa with different combinations of nuts and fruits make for an extremely delightful spread to choose from. Chandrakala, a flower shaped sweet needs a special mention, if you are planning to visit this shop. And, this year they are making an iPhone 7 replica as a Diwali special sweet.
And, when you are talking fresh sweets, you cannot miss out K.C. Das, the rasgulla shop of Kolkata. But these days you can drool over the other sweets too on the offering at this very old sweet shop. The mal puas and lengchas (I like to call them the long gulab jamun) are the most loved sweets here.
Of course, no mention of Diwali sweets can be ever had without the mention of Haldiram’s which makes Diwali sweets in bulk and there is an utter maddening chaos at all their units before Diwali for the mad rush of gifting. Although most of these sweets are made in bulk and are the dry fruit variety, the giant sized ghee ke laddoo are a must have from this shop.
Well, these are only a few and well known sweet destinations of the city of joy. Diwali or no Diwali, these sweet shops dedicatedly bring to you the most sort after sweets. But with the seasonal flavours, their Diwali offerings make for accentuated celebration mood that is omnipresent in the air.
For someone who's run two restaurants, being a baker and cook par excellence comes easily to Madhushree . When she's not eating out, she's organizing her own pop ups or experimenting with regional recipes. Her experiments with food and her recipes are part of Pikturenama , where she's a co founder.