Indians barely need a reason to celebrate. We have festivals to welcome seasons of the year, celebrate and strengthen relations, to mark religious occasions or the birthdays of saints and Gods, celebrate the full moon, celebrate the victory of good over evil, welcome the New Year, which for different religions is different. No matter what the reason, no Indian festival or celebration is complete without a wide spread of traditional Indian sweetmeats called Mithai.
For quite some time , the position that traditional Indian sweets once held in our hearts had been usurped by western confectionaries such as chocolates, cakes, cookies and other such things. The hotels, posh patisseries might have inadvertently helped in this as despite of mithai being an intrinsic part of Indian culture, there were hardly any luxury hotels in India that had their own in-house range of mithais. In the fusion of International delicacies flooding the Indian market, our good old traditional, nutrient rich mithai was losing out.
Chocolate though easier to make, could never compete with mithai, considering its lack of cultural heritage also especially considering that that traditional festival foods apart from being of course sinfully scrumptious have been designed to improve health.
Traditional mithais are now back to reclaim its place in the upmarket and our hearts. A number of luxury mithai makers have stepped in and our desi mithai has gone gourmet. Traditional and all-time favourite classics like Bal Mithai, Dhoda, Milk Cakes, Marble Barfis, Mathura Pedhas, roasted Channa Ladoos, Caramelized Sugar Besan Ladoos and Coconut Ladoos, to name a few are still there. But for those who are willing to experiment, there are innovative delicacies like flaxseed ladoos, hazelnut Pedas, walnut Pedhas, crunchy Pista Lounge or the Date & Nut Barfis. Innovation is the prime focus for all recipes and ‘Gourmet Mithai’ has become the new trend, since it not only entices the taste buds but also uses ingredients innovatively. There has also been an increase in demand for naturally sweetened and jaggery based healthy sweets that use whole grains, nuts and seeds and can be consumed guilt free.
With the festive season upon us, there is a legit excuse to create everlasting memories and make your celebrations this year more special by consuming copious amounts of handcrafted sweets that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. We can all surely do with creating some sweet memories for this mostly very unpredictable year.
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