A major wave of change for the Indian dessert was when your trusted local halwai was overtaken by branded, multi-store chains such as Haldiram’s and Bikanervala making mithai. The latter has seen a similar uprising in the recent years, albeit a quieter one and for a smaller segment. A whole bracket of luxury mithai makers have stepped onto the scene, taking the basics such as besan laddoo, khoya barfi, kaju katli et al. a notch higher by introducing sweets such as 24 carat gold varq pistachio ladoo, Caramel Pedha, and Besan Truffle.
Handcrafted, innovative, and blending Indian traditional with international flavours, these luxury mithai brands have been seen taking over weddings of the likes of Shloka Mehta and Akash Ambani, and Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal. Of course, not just limited to weddings, the luxe Indian desert is having its time under the Sun, and doesn’t seem to be going anytime soon. So we rounded up the five must-try brands for your dose of luxury mithai when the sweet tooth calls next.
While their name may be Gur Chini, the focus on using healthier sugars extends beyond these two popular kinds. With two permanent stores in Delhi and presence across India and abroad, they create treats like Bavarian chocolate barfi, South American almond tacos, pistachio paan, using the stevia plant for the sweetness. Other sweetness they use include jaggery from sugarcane, palmyra, date plam, and nelon; four types of honey — Manuka, Buckwheat, Garchia, and Rosemary; and different dates such as Khadrawi, Kustaw, Deglet Noor, Medjool. Keeping sweets natural and healthy is their motto, and their low- and no-sugar options carry that even further, never lacking on the taste!
Started by Sid Mathur of Impresario, Khoya seeks to bring back ancient Indian recipes of mithai while adding the modern tweak of thoughtful packaging reminiscent of elegant French charm. But don’t go by the minimalism of the boxes, the mithai inside features exquisite concoctions like beetroot laddoo, alphonso coconut laddoo, mango barfi, paan peda, rose petal besan laddoo. Also with two physical outlets in Delhi, Khoya is your go-to for understated elegance (other than the mouth-melting mithai, of course).
They celebrate the age-old art of making mithai, believe in ethically sourced produce, o artificial additives, only natural flavourings, and entirely recyclable boxes. Their packaging is done with as much care as the making of mithai; with names like Petit 4, Sparkler, Famille, Savoury Square, and Rectangle Fix — you get the gist! The Founding chef duo shared their vision with us, “We had always wondered why an Indian sweets can’t be given the same finesse and importance as its French counterpart. Going forward, we want mithai to be just as relevant and admissible as its French counterparts like Belgian Chocolate or a classic French macaron.” And this led to their delectable sweets like Besan Truffle (besan laddoo with dark Belgian chocolate truffle filling), Caramel Pedha (Mathura ka peda with a dulce de leche centre), and Malterine Marmalade (tangy malta and tangerine with gurmandi almond paste) amongst others.
Inspired by everyday objects, Berfila follows the belief of ‘quality, care, and creating unique products’. The newest kid on the block, it was started last year and operates out of a home kitchen in Gurgaon. With a focus on gifting, their design is muted finesse, with fun flavours thrown in, like fudges in flavours of bubblegum, matcha, jamun & lemon, mango, strawberry; white chocolate and raspberry motichoor laddoo, ghiya barfi…they also have regular mithai such as coconut laddoo, milk cake, kalakand, khoya barfi, and such.
If millennial luxury mithai is what your’e looking for, Nihira is the answer. Motichoor laddoos in flavours such as wine, champagne, and lavender; blueberry, elderflower, and cheesecake barfi, jalapeño and cheese namak paare — you can’t give this menu a miss. Using only organic ingredients, Nihira celebrates the fact that ‘mitha’ is the centre of any Indian auspicious occasion, supplementing these with their handcrafted mithai.
With all brands taking into consideration customisation requests and delivering to several locations across India, this new face of luxury mithai is one that definitely needs to be experienced.