Bangladeshis are sweet-loving people and nothing can beat the taste of soft, fluffy and syrupy white Roshogolla, Kalojam - fried to perfection and dipped in syrup - and melt-in-your-mouth worthy, incredibly sweet Golapjam.
But as the current trend is pushing us towards canning most food, I wonder if the canned version of these marvelous deshi sweets can play the same strings with your taste bud.
Although canning was first developed in the late 18th century as a way to provide a stable food source for soldiers and sailors at war, now it became a handy source of packaging that is convenient in the kitchen, while travelling and a good idea for exporting food items. In some cases, canned food is also a 'posh' trend for Bangladeshis.
Before writing this article, as a Bangladeshi who lives in a neighbourhood surrounded by a vast array of sweet shops and bakeries that serve fresh items, I was detrained that canned sweets are definitely one of those 'posh' cases.
So, to prove myself right (or wrong), I started my hunt for canned sweets in Dhaka. Unfortunately, the hunt had to be halted midway because of the nationwide lockdown that restricted public movement. Hence, I ordered myself some canned sweets from Aarong.
But the procedure of ordering dairy products from Aarong calls for a disclaimer. First, you have to go to Aarong's website which will have a separate tab for Aarong Dairy's website on the 'Brands' section but it does not let you shop.
To actually purchase an item, you have to look for the 'shop' tab, which will take you to a different webpage from where you can finally order.
If you want to skip the hassle of ordering the canned sweets online, visit your nearest Aarong outlet or any superstore to buy the products.
I bought the 600 gm cans of roshogolla, golapjam and kalojam and each of them costs TK180. The packaging is very good and you do not have to keep it in the freezer until you open the vacuum sealed lid. Once it is opened, you can store it in the freezer for upto a week.
Each can of sweet contains 10 to 12 pieces of small-sized sweets. The colorful tin containers have inscribed complicated procedures to eat the sweet in order to get the best taste. But I took out a sweet directly from the container and took a bite, without following any process, and it tasted the same as sweets would - irrespective of the procedure.
Now, let's come to the taste of the sweets.
The taste of this pearly white sweet that melts in the mouth in a second is well-known to every Bangladeshi.
The canned version of this sweet tried to give a fight to the authentic, fresh version, and failed, but not measurably. If you can keep the fresh, soft, spongy texture of roshogolla out of your mind, it is a tasty sweet.
Dipped into a light, watery syrup, the small, white balls of sweets are not smooth and soft at all but the taste is good. There is no added aroma either.
However, the chewing sound of this sweet sounds as if you are chewing on a rubber balloon. Even with all these odds, Aarong's canned roshogolla is not a bad treat if you consider this sweet as a sweet only and not a roshogolla.
Black outside and purple inside, Kalojam has always fascinated me but not for its taste, rather for its colour and the sprinkling of powdered white "khoya" on it.
The canned version of this sweet did not have any khoya on it but it had that beautiful kalojam colour. The deep fried rich brown core made it the perfect little ball of delight. I do not recall the last time I ate a kalojam as tasty.
The fried sweet balls are submerged in a thick sugar syrup flavoured with cardamom, rose water, saffron, pistachio and an array of other ingredients. It was like a synchronized calibration of flavours in my mouth.
Aarong's canned kalojam can give any authentic and freshly made kalojam a tough fight and might even win.
Golapjam is a very popular sweet in Bangladeshi despite originating from India.
Generally golapjam is very soft and aromatic. It melts in your mouth as a piece of butter would on a hot pan.
The canned version of the golapjam was brownish-gold in color and definitely the softest among the three sweets. It also has a very strong aroma of rose water - so strong that it overpowers the actual golapjam taste. But it is not entirely tasteless, considering you would want to try it once only for the sake of tasting it.
Basically, the golapjam is just a very sweet "sweet" which can be a substitute for the authentic, sweetshop bought golapjam, if you are in need of sweets urgently and there is no sweet shop around.
All the canned sweets are definitely edible and tasty. But in comparison to the freshly made sweets from different sweetshops, the canned ones lag behind in one way or another.
Nevertheless, the kalojam is a precious discovery for me, which I will keep on my list of favourite sweets.
These canned sweets have a positive aspect, too. The packaging makes it convenient to carry while traveling or to be sent as a gift far away. It has the potential to export the taste of Bangladeshi sweets globally. Most importantly, the taste and texture of these canned sweets stay the same longer than freshly made sweets.