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Sweet Surrender - A finger-licking contest

GIRISH CHANDRA DEY & NAKUR CHANDRA NANDY: RUPAM ISLAM

Established in: 1844 by Mahesh Chandra Dey. Later, his son Girish Chandra Dey took over and the shop was named after him. His only daughter married Nakur Chandra Nandy, who took charge of the shop. Since then it’s called Girish Chandra Dey & Nakur Chandra Nandy.

Best known for: Jolbhora.

Winning strategy: “We don’t believe in strategies. We have full confidence in our quality,” said Partha Nandy, a spokesperson for the shop.

Star Contender: Rocking Rabri.

Star campaigner: “There is nothing new for me to say about this shop. I have known it since my childhood. You can’t explain the special quality of the sweets here in words, you have to eat it to understand why I like their sweets,” said Rupam Islam.

Rupam’s memorable chocolate moment: “My mother never let me eat a chocolate slab. She always gave me one cube, which I used to savour for a long time.”

Voting Line: 080 300 88 454

SEN MAHASAY: PARAMBRATA CHATTOPADHYAY

Established in: 1885 by Ishwar Asutosh Sen. According to the owners, literary icons like Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Tarashankar Bandopadhyay, Banaphool... who used to frequent the shop, named it Sen Mahasay!

Best known for: Monmatano and Monohora.

Winning strategy: “I don’t think such a contest has ever happened in Calcutta. We will try to be the best!” said Sandip Sen, director of the mishti chain.

Star Contender: Two-layered Anandabury, a jaffran, kaju and chocolate-based sandesh.

Star campaigner: “I am a mishti freak! A large part of my growing-up years was spent in Ballygunge. If you walk down from Ballygunge station to Gariahat, you cannot miss Sen Mahasay on your right. So, mishti meant Sen Mahasay.... Anandabury is excellent. The innovation is very well conceptualised. I hope they win,” said Parambrata Chattopadhyay.

Parambrata’s memorable chocolate moment: “When I was in England, on one occasion… I was practically dipped in chocolate by my friends. It was indeed a very sticky affair! Pretty girls started licking my cheeks, so I cannot complain!”

Voting Line: 080 300 88 459

Bhim Chandra Nag: JUNE

Established in: 1826 by Paran Chandra Nag. He got the present address in Bowbazar and set up a shop. After his death, his son Bhim Chandra Nag took over.

Best known for: Aabar Khabo, a rose-flavoured sandesh made with kheer, pista and golapi attar.

Winning strategy: “We will try our best to treat the customers to the best! The rest really depends on them,” said Pratap Nag, partner.

Star Contender: Chocolate Free Kick. Besides Cadbury Dairy Milk, there is pista, cashew and raisins.

Star campaigner: “My whole family is full of die-hard mishti fans. It was a weekend ritual during my childhood to feast on mishti from north and central Calcutta. My favourite from Bhim Chandra Nag is their doi. I have passed on my love for sweets to my children. The blend of chocolate and sweets is going to be an added attraction for them.... Chocolate Free Kick is a very happy mix of chocolate, sandesh and dry fruits. It is completely melt-in-your-mouth! People should vote for Chocolate Free Kick because it is Bhim Nag, it is June and it is football; the three things make a lethal combo!” said June.

June’s memorable chocolate moment: “The first gift from my son (Shivendra) to me was a bar of chocolate. That’s my happiest and cosiest chocolate memory.”

Voting Line: 080 300 88 452

K.C. Das: ABIR CHATTERJEE

Established in: 1864, if one is to rewind to Nabin Chandra Das’s time. It got its name Krishna Chandra Das in 1930. The name was shortened to K.C. Das in 1935.

Best known for: Rosogolla.

Winning strategy: “This is a completely new experience. We are very excited. We are known for our quality and taste. Hopefully, we will win because of that,” said Dhiman Das, director.

Star Contender: Choco Kumbha.

Star campaigner: “There is a childhood memory attached to my deciding upon K.C. Das. I spent my childhood with my grandfather in Salt Lake. Dadu aamake aar bon ke niye beriye porto. Both my grandfather and my uncle’s offices used to be in Dharamtala. So, sweets from K.C. Das were a regular in our house. Their rosogolla is my favourite,” said Abir Chatterjee.

Abir’s memorable chocolate moment: “Prem prem byaparta chocolate’r sathey khub bhalo jaye, but because I was a very katkhotta (dry) type of premik, it never happened. After marriage I realised that won’t work always so I gifted her a chocolate. She was so surprised!”

Voting Line: 080 300 88 458

Jadab Chandra Das: Arunima Ghosh

Established in: 1850 (approx) by Jadab Chandra Das beside Jhamapukur Rajbari. It was then popular as Jodu Moira’s shop. Sunil Bihari Das established the Rashbehari Avenue branch, opposite Triangular Park, in 1960.

Best known for: Doi, Chop Sandesh and Baikuntha Bhog.

winning strategy: “We have some families who have been our customers for generations and will never go anywhere else for sweets. We want more people to know about us through this campaign,” said Soumen Das, a partner.

Star Contender: Chocolate Mohona.

Star campaigner: “This is my favourite shop. I stay really close and while returning from shoots, I pick up sweets from here. In any case, we Bengalis keep a stock of sweets at home for guests. Just the other day we bought a packet of Aam Sandesh from here,” said Arunima Ghosh.

Arunima’s memorable chocolate moment: “I was really naughty when it came to studies. So every day, when I used to study, my mother (Anuradha Ghosh) used to keep a slab of Cadbury on my desk but never gave it directly to me. But as I grew up I put on a lot of weight, having one Dairy Milk every day!”

Voting Line: 080 300 88 457

Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick: PARNO MITTRA

Established in: 1885. Back then it was known as Ganesh’er dokan. Balaram Mullick is Ganesh Chandra Mullick’s brother who helped establish the brand.

Best known for: Amrita Munda Jolbhora (molten nolen gur inside).

winning strategy: “Cadbury is a really big brand and we feel that we are the premium chocolate sandesh makers. We have 15 varieties of chocolate sandesh and 25 kinds of chocolate items like chocolate doi and rosogolla. We will put in our best!” said Sudip Mullick, proprietor.

Star Contender: Mudpie Sandesh.

Star campaigner: “I picked Balaram Mullick because I am very confident they are going to win! They are so good with fusion mishti! Very innovative. And Cadbury Mishti Shera Shrishti is all about innovation. Mudpie Sandesh is yummy,” said Parno Mittra.

Parno’s memorable chocolate moment: “When I was in school, all the guys would give me chocolates on Valentine’s Day or Rose Day…. It is just that I never enjoyed eating chocolates, so they were rejected! But I have always liked chocolate cakes. So the way to win my heart is with a chocolate cake or... Mudpie Sandesh!”

Voting Line: 080 300 88 451

Ganguram: Sreelekha Mitra

Established in: 1885. (Late) Ganguram Chaurasia came to Calcutta in the 1880s from a small village in Varanasi. He took up the job of a halwai in a shop owned by Raja Kamala Prasad Mukherjee, who later gifted him a small plot of land near Maniktala where he set up his first sweetshop in 1885.

Best known for: Indrani, Mishti Doi.

Winning strategy: “Chocolate mishti is not new to us. We are number one in them. Our wide range of customers have faith in our sweets as we never compromise on quality,” said Rahul Chaurasia, partner.

Star Contender: Kolaveri Di — chocolate sandesh with nuts and chocolate sauce.

Star campaigner: “Though it is a chain run by non-Bengalis, they make delicious Bengali sweets. And that makes it more special to me,” smiled Sreelekha Mitra.

Sreelekha’s memorable chocolate moment: My grandfather (late Amarendra Nath Basu) used to bribe me with Cadbury. I also had a habit of hiding my Cadbury under the pillow and waking up to have it.... I fight over Cadbury even now with my daughter and hide and eat her share!

Voting Line: 080 300 88 453

Gupta Brothers: Kanchan Mallick

Established in: The early 1900s by (late) Ramchandra Gupta. The New Alipore and Ballygunge branches are the oldest.

Best known for: Abar Khabo, a chhena based mishti.

Winning strategy: “We have always been dedicated to quality. This contest presents us with an excellent opportunity to do something creative and I am sure we will be a success,” said Parikshit Gupta, one of the directors of the sweetshop.

Star Contender: Cadbury Twister.

Star campaigner: “Gupta Brothers is one of the best sweetshops in Calcutta, that is why I chose to campaign for them. I usually pick up north Indian sweets from Gupta Brothers as they are particularly good with them. And their Cadbury Twister is byapok (great)!” said Kanchan Mallick.

Kanchan’s memorable chocolate moment: “Beshir bhag mohilarai aamake chocolate-i deye. Hoyto chehara dekhei deye (Most women gift me chocolates... maybe because of my physique)!”

Hindusthan Sweets: Rudranil Ghosh

Established in: 1950 by Haridas Pal who came over to Calcutta from Bangladesh. The Jadavpur outlet was the first shop of the chain.

Best known for: Pranohora and herbal sweets made in partnership with Jadavpur University.

Winning strategy: “Innovation has always been our key strength. We are going to put in our best for this contest,” said Rabindra Kumar Pal, managing partner.

Star Contender: Chocogolla, a mix of rosogolla and Cadbury.

Star campaigner: “I live in Ranikuthi, so this is practically my para. They are a very renowned shop and I think in this generation, when chocolate is what is favoured, pairing it with Bengali’s favourite rosogolla is a brilliant idea,” said Rudranil Ghosh.

Rudranil’s memorable chocolate moment: “Well, I used to be given Cadbury slabs by many of my girlfriends and when I needed to impress a girl I use to recycle them!”

Voting Line: 080 300 88 456

Text: Saionee Chakraborty, Chandreyee Chatterjee and Sneha Dutta
Pictures: Bhubaneswarananda Halder

Apart from the toll-free numbers given above, readers can also cast their votes at the shops or log on to my.anandabazar.com


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