Indian ‘Mithais’ Get a Designer Twist

Who gives regular old laddoo-pedas at weddings any more? These gourmet sweet-makers offer festive confections with style and substance. Given as favours along with wedding invites or as ‘thank-you’ gifts after a wedding, birthday or anniversary, the usual old mithai boxes have been replaced by innovative confections with health, taste and a little bit of a price tag.

Here are four new sweet-makers on the block who have given a tangy new twist to traditional celebratory sweets. Get set for a bespoke festive season.

bruijnBRUIJN

Dubai-based sweetmeat label Bruijn adds a dash of exotic Arabia to your Indian celebration. Named after Cornelis de Bruijn, a famous Dutch traveller, Bruijn’s claim to fame is its “Dutch name, Belgian chocolate recipes and an Indian inspiration”. Available in Delhi at Greater Kailash II and the Oberoi hotel, they specialize in handmade pure cocoa chocolates, Saudi dates, Turkish dragées (coated almonds), natural nut bars, decorative marzipan and Middle Eastern figs.

Associated with top Indian wedding invite designers, Bruijn’s Bullion Collection of chocolate, which costs Rs 7,000 per kg, takes inspiration from rich Indian mithai. It is an artisanal chocolate cut from 50 per cent pure cocoa and decorated with sprinkles of pure gold and silver – there you go, all the ingredients of a big fat Indian wedding.

You can also order wedding platters with nickel and silver plating. “From the size of the chocolate or marzipans to the colour of the wrapper, everything can be customised. Interestingly, most of our new products are a result of clients’ demands for something exclusive,” says Mandavi Kanchan, head of Retail Operations, Bruijn. 

The range includes Nut Bars (in three flavours combining natural roasted nuts with pure fig, date or apricot paste, Rs 2,500 per kg), Roseball Marzipan (marzipan blended with rose, Rs 4,300 per kg) and Rose Petal and White Chocolate-coated Dates (Rs 4,800 per kg) to “complement pastel-shaded wedding cards”. Those looking for something traditional (and expensive) can opt for Saffron Cashew dates made with Spanish saffron (Rs 2,00,000 per kg).

Contact: 7838850003; http://www.bruijnnc.com

Nordic Kandie MarzepanNORDIC KANDIE

This brand comes with national heritage. According to an old Estonian story, an ill nobleman hired a pharmacist to cure him. Since the pharmacist was himself unwell, he got his apprentice Mart to do the job. In those days (this is the 15th century we’re talking about), it was mandatory for the doctor to eat the medicine himself before serving a royal patient. To make it more palatable, the boy added almonds and sugar to it. It cured the patient, and the grateful nobleman named it Mart’s bread (mardileib in Estonian). It went on to become the European delicacy marzipan. The Estonian family brand Nordic Kandie calls it ‘marzepan’.

The recipe has been carried forward for generations in the family, now in the hands of Thea Tammeleht, who is married to Thomas, an Indian engineer, and lives in India with their little daughter. The duo runs the organization together, with a modern production facility in Hiranandani Gardens, Powai.

Addressing a niche luxury audience, their ‘marzepan’ uses imported mamra almonds. The brand says it’s 100 per cent vegetarian and free of cholesterol and trans-fats. They cover the almond layer with Belgian chocolate, and wrap it up with edible gold or silver. This last is imported from an Italian factory that has been supplying gold to European royalty for the past 200 years. So you get health, taste and luxury put together.

The Indian version of ‘marzepan’ – made in collaboration with Chef Vicky Ratnani – comes in 14 different flavours from blackcurrant to nutmeg and even chilli mango, starting at Rs 1,250 for a box of six.

Contact: 7666122211; info@nordickandiemagic.com

bharati sanghiBHARTI SANGHI

Tired of the same old mithai boxes at your local halwai? Add a twist to them with a customized flavour. Bharti Sanghi of Home Alone Foods offers unusual combinations and tastes for all kinds of occasions. Born in a traditional Marwari family, Sanghi started a home kitchen in Golf Links in Delhi, later shifting to a professional FPO-approved unit at Okhla. This unit is now used for freshly prepared foods, while another state-of-the-art unit at Sahibabad, Uttar Pradesh, is used for bottling.

She lives in Delhi with her husband Rajesh, an IIT alumnus who owns an automobile company, and two sons. “I started my home kitchen eight years ago, and the concept of designer mithais took off five years ago to meet the increasing demand,” she says. Her offerings go from sugar-free sweets to traditional flavours done up in unusual shapes and combinations of ingredients.

Now supplying across Delhi, NCR, Kanpur, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Surat and Mumbai, Sanghi’s customized mithais, she says, “are extremely centric to the kind of occasion one has, so it can’t be pre-made on a mass scale. My designer mithais have a niche clientele as this is a bespoke service.” A box of sweets costs between Rs 1,200 to 3,000, and you can place orders in batches of half or one kg, or a minimum of 12 pieces depending on the type.

Contact: 9313447353; homealonefoods@hotmail.com

deepa rupaniDEEPA RUPANI

So you love sweets but cannot afford the calories? Nutritionist Deepa Rupani is there to the rescue. With a penchant for cooking wholesome food for her husband and daughter, and a passion for fitness, Rupani started taking orders for ‘low-calorie and calorie-counted’ sweets a couple of years ago during the festive season. Since then, she’s been inundated with orders.

Offering flavours in modaks (individual pieces) such as peanut, figs and sesame seeds; fruit and nut; walnut-coated almonds; exotic berries and many more, Rupani’s philosophy is to keep the standard of ingredients high with an eye on the nutrition value of each piece.

“If you substitute two Marie biscuits for just one of my pieces, you’ll have the same amount of calories but will get 10 times more nutrition and a feeling of fullness,” she promises. Armed with a certification in weight management and sports nutrition, she also offers sweets that can be used as post-workout meals, in the calorie range of 100-110 per piece.

This festive season, she’s offering seven varieties of nutritious sweets, and three ‘indulgent’ ones coated with Nutella and caramel for “children who are fussy eaters.” Prices range from Rs 1,000 per kg for those with basic ingredients such as peanut and coconut (“Indians don’t realize what fat-burners they are”) to Rs 1,550 per kg for the more exotic types such as walnut and cranberry.

Contact: 09820309698; deepsi23@hotmail.com

First published on TheNewsMinute.com

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