If you have been longing to taste sweets from various corners of West Bengal but never managed to go beyond Rosogolla of Kolkata owing to the paucity of time, fret no more. Located on the eastern fringe of the city, is the Bangla Misti Hub, a store-in-store concept, where you will get an immense variety of local sweets under one roof.
The Hub, operated by the Housing Development Infrastructure Corporation (HIDCO), was inaugurated in July. Located adjacent to Eco Park (Prakriti Tirtha), it is fast becoming one of the popular attractions of Kolkata. At present, there are about a dozen stores, including some of Kolkata&rsquos iconic brands.
For those with a sweet tooth, the Misti Hub is a veritable magic land. From outside, it is reminiscent of old Kolkata with red brick walls, wrought iron décor and glass façade. Inside, it consists of a large atrium-style air-conditioned hall with a clean modern look. The shop outlets are arranged in a single row against the wall leaving plenty of space to move around the hall. Take your time to browse through the glass counters filled abundantly with varieties of sweets (and some savouries too) before settling down on what you want to have. Limited seating arrangement also available.
Last year, Bengal&rsquos &lsquorosogolla&rsquo got the Geographical Indication (GI) tag and is the most sought-after sweet at the Misti Hub. Apart from the original plain white version, now you have a wide range of flavours to choose from&ndashvarious fruity flavours to spicy green chilli to &lsquopaan&rsquo (betel leaf).
However, it is the quintessential white rosogolla and its winter cousin flavoured with newly harvested &lsquonolen gur&rsquo (date palm jaggery) that are popular with outstation visitors, said a representative of the K C Das store, a brand which is almost synonymous with the sweet spheres. We found the &lsquobaked rosogolla&rsquo was also quite popular with visitors, especially those who like the &lsquosweet&rsquo quotient to be slightly muted. Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick is credited for introducing this sweet.
Some of the other well-known brands who have set up outlets here are Banchharam, Naba Krishna Guin, Nalin Chandra Das & Sons, Mithai, Hindustan Sweets, Ganguram, Gupta Brothers, and Mishti Katha. Between themselves, the shops offer a mind-boggling range of &lsquodoi&rsquo or curd, &lsquosandesh&rsquo and other sweets.
Apart from the city-based sweet shops, there is a corner for shops from the districts because West Bengal has an immense range of unique regional sweets. Burdwan is known for Sitabhog and Mihidana, Krishnagar for Shorpuriya and Shorbhaja, Saktigarh for Lyangcha, Bharampur for Chhanabora, etc. The regional sweets will be presented on rotational basis. At present, there is a store from Purba Bardhaman.
At the Misti Hub, you not only get to taste the traditional sweets but also sample a lot of fusion and experimental sweets. Chocolate seemed to be the most favourite ingredient for fusion sweets while mango appeared to be the most popular fruit flavour. Among the more innovative varieties were Roso Maloncho (dry fruits and kheer wrapped in a traditional malpua), Gondhoraj Lebu Doi (lime flavoured yogurt), Strawberry Boat Sandesh, etc.
If you are lucky, you may also catch a food festival or a musical programme being held at the Hub.
Getting there Bangla Misti Hub is located adjacent to Gate 3 of Eco Park in New Town (on the eastern fringe of Kolkata). Its location, on the way to the airport, makes it easy for visitors to stop on the way to pick up some of West Bengal&rsquos famous sweets. Parking at the fairly large plot is free for a limited time. If you are travelling from the city, it is best to have your own car as public transport is poor. Getting app-based cabs is a problem.
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