Rangunia Upazila of Chattogram district is surrounded by mountains, greenery and nature. Santiniketan is a quiet village of this Upazila, surrounded by the Ichamati River flowing in the north near the Karnaphuli. It was named after by Mahatma Subal Sadhu following his visit to Rabindranath Tagore's birthplace Santiniketan.
Dramas, Jatrapala, etc are staged every year here, along with other cultural practices. Bengali New Year, Navanna Festival, Paush Sankranti, Pitha Festival, etc are celebrated with grandeur. And in those festivals, sweets take the centre spot of attraction.
Bangladesh is familiar with thousands of varieties of sweets produced in different parts of the country. Rosogolla in Santiniketan's 'Shanti Sweets Bhandar' is one of such traditional Bengali sweetmeats that has been serving customers for more than three decades, keeping the quality intact since its inception.
The main ingredient in making this Rosogolla is cow's milk, which is converted into curd. This Rosogolla is one of the foods of all auspicious occasions made with chickpeas, milk, and sugar. Currently, White Sweet, Black Jam, Cham Cham Roshmalai, Sweet Curd, Nimki, Jilapi, Khaja, Amrtti, Special Malaikari, etc are made in this confectionary storehouse.
However, white sweets are the most demanded items, produced and sold on an average of 50 kg daily. Made with pure ingredients and cow's milk, with incomparable taste and appealing look, these white sweets, Roshmalai, Kheer Mohan, Special Malaikari, melt in your mouth instantly.
White Sweet sells at Tk 200 per kg while Kalojam at Tk 200, Cham Cham at Tk 260, Kheer-mohan at Tk 350, Roshmalai at Tk 350, Sweet Curd at Tk 220, Nimki at Tk 180 and Jillapi at Tk 150 per kg.
The demand for sweets goes up during religious and social occasions. Santiniketan's Rosogolla has now spread to different parts of the country after satisfying the food lovers of the area. It has gained a reputation among expatriates living outside the country as well.
There is a history of struggle behind this confectionery store in Santiniketan. The people of this area were mainly dependent on agriculture, and betel nut cultivation was one of them. As the catastrophic cyclone of 1991 ravaged the area, people started thinking about changing their profession.
Businessman Gunalal De started a small-scale tea shop after the destruction of cyclone. Later, with the advice and cooperation of his elder brother, he built a Rosogolla factory there. That small tea shop of Gunalal is not small anymore.
Santiniketan's Rosogolla now means Gunalal's rosogolla. At present, a few maunds of sweets are made and sold daily from Shanti Sweets Bhandar. But to maintain the quality, they haven't let any new branch come in.
The origin of Rosogolla is in Bhandaria of Pirojpur in the Barisal region, where during the Portuguese period, the Moiras used to prepare a round sweet called Kheermohan or Rosogolla with chickpeas, sugar, milk and semolina. Later it spread throughout India.
At that time, Motilal De of Santiniketan, India, became famous for his Rosogolla, which later came to be known as Moti's sweet. Gunalal made this Rosogolla in Santiniketan, Rangunia in the ‘90s.
With Gunalal's hard work, dedication and passion for producing the best quality food, Santiniketan's Rosogolla will certainly continue to appease the sweet teeth.