For Chanchal Chakraborty, the flavour of Kolkata comes to Mumbai once every year. The manager of Sweet Bengal, Chakraborty makes sure that all the store’s 11 branches in the city are stocked with Bengali specialties like sandesh, mishti doi, langcha and rasgullas for the busiest week of the year.
“During Durga Puja, not just Bengalis, but the entire city gorges on traditional Bengali mithaai,” said Chakraborty. “It is like celebrating Diwali twice a year.”
While Bengalis welcome the Goddess Durga with homemade sweets and traditional dishes, other sweet shops across the city are tuning their flavours to match the Bengali festival. Some are even offering as many as 15 to 20 different varieties of Bengali sweets.
“The festive mood begins with sweets and it is only during Durga Puja that one gets to taste such a variety,” said Jasdeep Singh, the manager of MM Mithaiwala, Malad, which is offering discounts on bundi mithai, which is offered as prasad at most Durga Puja pandals.
Sweetshops are factoring in a rise in the price of dry fruits by increasing the rate of mithaais like kaju barfi and dry fruit barfi.
“There has been an increase in prices by at least 20 per cent, but people do not seem to mind it when it comes to enjoying the festival,” said Manav Bajaj, partner, Punjabi Ghasitaram Mithaai, which has been providing at least 300 packets of motichur laddoos every day to pandals across the city.
Some restaurants in the city are also offering special buffets for people who want a complete Bengali food experience.
Oh! Calcutta at Tardeo has arranged for buffet lunches and dinners with starters like mochar chop, sheem palong pathuri, fish and chicken dishes like chingdi malai curry, murgi johl and desserts like rasgulla, sandesh.
“The buffet is for three days during Durga Puja, when not only does one get Bengali cuisine in Mumbai, but the whole atmosphere resembles a Bengali household,” said Sunil Panda, manager of Oh! Calcutta.