Several families in Kolkata are giving the traditional sweets a miss this festive season, opting for cupcakes, baked goodies and chocolates. Businessman Akash Rohira, who has been sending over platters of cupcakes of various flavours to friends and relatives for the past few days, has chosen baked goodies for their freshness. “As there is a huge demand during the festive season, sweets in many reputed outlets are not fresh and even the ingredients are bought much in advance. It becomes embarrassing if the sweets gifted to a friend turn out to be stale,” said Rohira.
Fitness-conscious Kashish Arora has shifted to cakes from laddoos and barfis prepared in ghee. “The traditional Diwali mithai is laden with ghee. I am concerned about my fitness and so are my friends. None of us indulges in heavy sweets. Cupcakes and muffins are our preferred choice,” said the 31-year-old banker from Salt Lake.
But health experts pointed out that replacing sweets with baked goodies would not be of much help as they contained dollops of butter and sweet. “Cupcakes and chocolates contain a generous amount of butter and sugar, similar to the ingredients of any traditional mithai. If the amount is not minimized, a shift to baked goodies may not have the desired effect of cutting down on calorie count,” said Jayanti Banerjee, dietician at AMRI Hospitals in Salt Lake.
Confectioners have also started customizing their delicacies, keeping the calorie content in mind. Smita Khurrana, who has been flooded with orders since Durga Puja, uses healthier olive oil and less butter. As soon as they are taken out of the oven at the small bakery in her Theatre Road home, her blueberry cupcakes have been flying off the shelves.
“Most of my clients have only one request: to go easy on butter and sugar. Most of them are young and health-conscious people,” said Khurrana, rushing against the deadline to deliver her orders. On an average, every customer has been picking up around 10 pounds of the goodies, strawberry and chocolate cakes being the popular picks.
The shift, however, has not affected the sale at outlets, such as Bhikaram, Haldiram’s and Tewari’s. “Laddoos, sonpapris, kaju barfis and badam barfis are flying off the shelves. All our products are prepared in pure desi ghee but there are huge takers. We have not witnessed a drop in sales,” said Nathu Lal Tiwary of Tewari Sweets in Burrabazar.