Bengali people, popularly known as Bong, are famous for their delicate taste. Such delicate taste is reflected in Bengali cuisine as well. Bengali people are quite proud about their cultural heritage and Bengali Culinary.
Bengali sweets are important part of Bengali Cuisine and play great role in daily life. No celebration, be it a wedding, birthday party or a treat by parents whose child has secured high marks in board exams, is complete without Bengali sweet dishes. From birth a Bong baby grows with specially nurtured taste buds that can savour Bengali sweet dishes with pure ecstasy. But don't be disheartened even if you are not Bengali by birth. Bengali sweets can drive you crazy as well.
Bengali sweets are traditional and have great historical background. Famous shops are usually named after the person who started the sweet business as the artisan himself around 150-200 years ago. The tradition still continues. Famous sweet shops in and around Kolkata like K. C. Das, Bhimnag, Nabin Chandra Das, Balaram Mallick, Nakur Chandra Dey, Sen Mahasoy, Tiwari's, Adhar Chandra Das, Ganguram's – all are established brands which were named after their ancestors who started the shop mostly as the producer themselves. Though there are Bengali sweets which are famous after the name of place of their origin like Langcha from Shaktigarh, Manohara from Murshidabad, Sarpuria and Sarbhaja from Krishnanagar.
The most famous Bengali sweet is probably the Rasgoollah. Sandesh can claim the second place. Recently the debate on patent (GI = Geographical Indication) of Rasgoollah between two neighbouring states, West Bengal and Odisha has snowballed into media drawing chefs, politicians, historians into it.
Let's experience a sweet (20)16 in Bengal. A sweetened globe of pure ecstasy made up from yogurt, flour and sugar dipped in sugar syrup is Rasgoollah. This tongue immersing sugary sphere of joy is something you have really missed if you haven't had the opportunity to taste it yet. Go to the confectionery shop of K C Das or Nabin Chandra Das if you are in Kolkata or to a Bengali Mithai shop elsewhere, taste this sweet and tell others about your experience. Sandesh is another famous Bengali sweet which has its own individual identity. This sweet is popularly called 'Prana-hara' by people around Dhaka, Bangladesh meaning 'heart-stealer'. This delicacy is somewhat dry and powdery and made from yogurt, sugar/ jaggery and tastes as if made in heaven. Unlike Rasgoollah, there are several varieties of Sandesh that are very delicious but different in texture and taste. Some of these are seasonal, like Nolen Gurer Sandesh, Joynagarer Moah made from jaggery made from juice of date-palm or Sandesh with liquid filling like Jalbhara Sandesh or Talshans. Visit shops of Bhimnag or Nakur Chandra Dey to find these delicacies.
There are many other different kinds of Bengali Mithai (sweets) all of which are very delicious and have distinctive tastes. There some traditional home made sweets as well known as Pitha, made in Bengali house. Pitha like Patisapta, Labangalatika, Puli, Payesh, Muger Barfi - are very popular household names which are made during December – January in Bengali houses.
One can also taste Bengali sweets made from sugar-free stuffs as well. There are other famous Bengali Sweets also like Rajbhog, Mohanbhog, Ladykenny, Chhanar Jalebi, Chhanar Payes, Mishti Doi and many more.
So, let's go to Kolkata, or to nearby Bengali Mithai shop and start 2016 in a sweet mode.