Saturday, February 11, 2012

Expression of love through Sweets, Desserts (Hindi word-Mithai): Valentine Day!

Valentine Day and Sweets(Mithai)
Photo Credit- Kate Bernot http://chicago.seriouseats.com/ 




Valentine day is on 14th February and being in America for many years, like Americans, I picture chocolates, flowers and love during this time. Chocolates of different shapes, especially heart shaped chocolates are sold and gifted to loved one and friends. See the love symbol of cupid and painted words with love birds over assorted Valentine Chocolates.



Kisses- Credit www.sugarpressure.co

The retail, food and service industry capitalize on this day to increase the sales of their products and services, especially Chocolates takes the lead role. To support the needs of the retailers, manufacturers held sweets and snacks expo in America. Chocolate and Candy manufacturers display their products creatively. See the photo taken from this expo, where the Candy Giant Hersey's Kisses are floating in the air, very dramatic!


I started thinking about various sweet food items, their beauty, glamor and the associations with memorable and happy events. All my sensory memory came to surface. Sweets are the major players on most memorable events and occasions. People from all countries celebrate many happy social activities around sweets-making, displaying, eating and sharing or gifting the sweets.Sometimes, we may not notice them but they are present during cultural festivities.

With my  girl friends, I go to this Cocola Bakery located in mixed-use shopping development "Santana Raw" in San Jose, CA. and can never resist trying out one of these elegantly displayed pastries. This coffee and pastry break with a friend after shopping or window shopping designers' clothes is perfect and makes me forget how much I spent and puts me in  happy, relaxing, enjoyable time. Look at the different types of pastries displayed, I can go every week and not get tired of them.
Pastry Display at Cafe, Santana Raw

I remember growing up in India during Diwali and visiting many relatives' weddings, various types of sweet dishes were served. All young men would contest on eating maximum numbers of Laddu ( Sweet wheat flour ball with saturated butter and sugar). I remember many interesting stories associated with the sweets. Indians have not marketed their sweets in America for sure. Americans think of Indian sweets as Gulab Jamun, Ras Malai, Kheer or Carrot Halwa, but Indian sweets is as diverse and complex as India, her people, culture and languages. The sweets reflect influence of Persians, Moguls and European colonists who entered India throughout history.

The sweet dishes vary based on the combination of  numerous ingredients, a wide range of food preparation styles, and its' culinary presentation. India is known for its spices and those spices are used in sweets too. Just thinking about all of them, I feel exhaustion!
I will have to write another post about them, but see the photos of the shops selling these sweets below.
Typical Display of Indian Sweets  under the Counter

Sweets Display in Ajmer, India- Photo Credit- American Tourist
Photo Credit- Kate Bernot http://chicago.seriouseats.com
 So tempted and thought occurred to me--
 The chocolates fused with Indian spices.....and there... they are available!

Came across this photo of  exotic truffles sprinkled with Indian Curry, Ginger, Wasabi and Hungarian paprika nestled in amethyst jewel tone box. I just love this international ingredients mixed with the American chocolate! I have to order it from Chicago!
Have some sweets and Happy Valentine Day!

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