Indulge in the best of season’s sweets

Theresa Varghese visits some sweet shops and shares her findings in time for your diwali shopping.

It’s that time of the year when, everywhere you look, you see gaily wrapped boxes of dry fruits and mithai. With Diwali coming up and plenty of options available, customers are spoilt for choice.

Pic: Theresa Varghese.

Here’s we found in some of the most frequented sweet shops in the city.

Adyar Ananda Bhavan, 80 Feet Road, 7th Block, Koramangala
A well known name that has people flocking to its many franchises, this outlet always has customers tucking into the tasty snacks and strong coffee it offers. No doubt, Adyar Ananda Bhavan has its loyal clientele but here, the name cards identifying the sweets has one doing a double take. honey Due (Dew), Diamand (sic) Cake, Ajmeer Cake, and Anjal (no idea) Cake are just some of the unique stuff on offer. After you’ve stopped chuckling, try the very good Coconut Burfi or the interesting Tota Barfi – a dark brown concoction of wheat, coconut and dry fruits. So what exactly is tota? Don’t even ask!

Anand Sweets and Savouries, 8 Commercial Street
This is the place tired shoppers step into for a quick pick-me-up with Anand’s signature cool drink of Badam Milk. This is also the place where during festival season you will not be able to reach the counter without a bit of push and shove. Anand is known not only for its quality fare but also for its wide range in sweets.  Apart from specialities like Atta Laddu and Angoori Peda, it is the variations in almond and cashew nut that draws customers. With exquisitely designed pieces like Badam Basket, Badam Chakki, Kaju Tiranga and Kaju Tokri, Anand deserves full marks for creativity.

Gangotree, 1st Floor, High Point IV Bldg, Near Hotel Chalukya
Considering there are two other Gangotrees, one of which is in an upmarket location like Bangalore Central, it is interesting that people flock to this particular outlet for their Diwali high. Located in a cramped shop in a rickety building, there is not even any seating at this Gangotree. But the place is well known for its yummy chaats and milk sweets; regulars swear by its pedas and burfis which are bought in large quantities for gifting purposes.  However, since milk based sweets do not last long, other items which travel from here are Kaju Katli and Motichoor Laddu. The Kaju Round is particularly good.

Kanti Sweets, Near Jal Vayu Vihar, Kammanahalli Main Road
The distinctive purple and white board of Kanti Sweets can be seen all over. At last count, there were about a dozen branches around the city! This fairly new outlet, which also offers eats like parathas and puris, is extremely popular with families as can be seen by the crowds in the evenings. The major Diwali attraction here is sweets made of cashew nut. There are so many variations – Katli, Roll, Pine, Sandwich, Apple, Gunjia, Phool – that you can easily pack a box with not too many repetitions. Interestingly, there is even a Kaju Mysore Pak which is rather heavenly. Compared to other shops, prices here are lower and you get really tasty stuff.

KC Das, Church Street, Opp Koshy’s
Usually crowded, people come here for the aloo puri and snacks like samosa and kachori. And due to the legendary Bengali name, sweets – especially the traditional ones – are a major attraction. During Diwali, items like Soan Papdi and Boondi Laddu fly off the shelves. In my opinion, the place is a bit over hyped. The laddu is run of the mill and even Bengali mishti like Chomchom, dry Rosogolla and Ras Kadam do not give the rich taste that is associated with traditional Indian delicacies. However, the Crush – tiny balls with a syrupy centre – in Badam, Kaju and Pista, are good. 

Maiya’s, 30th Cross, 4th Block, Jayanagar
From the MTR family, this sweet shop lives up to the standards set by Mavalli Tiffin Room. With this lineage and due to the fact that there is a restaurant above, you will find chattering old mamis at the entrance. There’s also young software types ticking off their gifting lists. Apart from the usual pedas, laddus and burfis, Maiya’s stocks regional delicacies like Chirotti, Obbattu and Mysore Pak which are snapped up by regulars who prefer to serve traditional fare to relatives and friends. Even when you buy large quantities you’ll not feel the pinch as the prices are extremely wallet friendly.

Nammura, 21st A Main, IInd Phase, JP Nagar
For people who like professionally made sweets but do not want completely commercial fare, Nammura is a great option. This is an enterprise that uses no preservatives or taste enhancers. It also does not use plastic so take your own containers for the food. There are a dozen sweets on any given day. Apart from the usual laddu, jilebi, dry jamun, etc, ethnic delicacies like Mysore Pak, Kai/ Bele Holige and Sukkinaunda are highly popular. The Diwali special is Khajaya – made of rice, coconut and jaggery. The food is tasty with a home-made like quality which makes it much sought after. Go earlier in the day as the sweets tend to sell out soon.

New Arya Bhavan, Shopping Complex, 4th Block, Jayanagar
A small poky place with nothing much to recommend it except the name, New Arya Bhavan has about six branches around the city. While some of the Bhavans, such as the one at MG Road, do offer yummy treats at reasonable rates, this particular outlet falls short on the taste front. Among New Arya Bhavan’s specialities is Kaju Katli. Along with Motichoor Laddu, it is also their biggest seller during Diwali. Here, the strong aftertaste of essence in the katli and the extra sweetness in other cashew nut based sweets makes one wonder what happened to the brand’s quality control people.

sweets Pic: Theresa Varghese.

Sri Krishna Sweets, Priyadarshini Complex, 13th Cross, Indiranagar
A pioneer in the field of pure ghee sweets, this is the place for rich taste and a melt in the mouth quality. In fact, patrons of Sri Krishna Sweets are so fixated on these characteristics that they refuse to go elsewhere. Eat the Mysore Pa (yes, spelt without the k) and you’ll know why. At Sri Krishna, there is a dream like feature to this Karnataka speciality which has, as yet, not been replicated by any other sweet maker. It is also so rich that only a die hard sweet fiend can eat more than one piece at a time.

Quick options

For those who have no time on hand, the most convenient option is to pick up packets always available at supermarkets and grocery shops – the Nandini brand. This milk producers’ federation markets Mysore Pak, Cashew Burfi, Besan Laddu and Pedas – milk as well as the Dharwad variety. The products are tasty and compare well with those made by a halwai.

While on halwais, why is it that the staff at mithai outlets are not as sweet tempered as the products they sell? Is it because they are surrounded by sweets all day and cannot eat them? Or is it because of the customers who do not make up their minds, keep dithering and drive them up the wall? Hmmm…anybody got an answer?        

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