IT took several days before I got my hands on a KC Das rossogolla, and not for want of trying. From day one, it was a case of reaching the new shop on Shanti Colony seconds after the last sweet ball of cottage cheese was consumed or paid for. The owners were apologetic, for I was followed by a stream of disappointed customers, all mouthing ‘rossogolla’. So we settled for the brand’s other offerings, from the mishti doi (RS.25) or sweet curd to sandesh (RS.24) in plain, stuffed, airy, dense and chewy versions. There was kir kadam and ras kadam (RS.22), one juicy, the other creamy, both high on milk and sugar. On another day, it was the rasmanjuri and the soanpapdi, the former featuring burnt khoa on cottage cheese, mild on the tongue and delightful. Before long, I had purchased and sampled the monster Raj Bhog (37), the chamcham, even a few cubes of cloyingly pink Turkish Delight. Then one day, I stepped in to find 10 rossogollas, sitting pretty in a plastic box, waiting. At Rs.20 a pop, they were soft, light and the kind that spring back into shape when squeezed.
The back story
According to Monappa Prabhu, the production manager who has spent 28 years at KC Das and is in Chennai to help set up operations, Bangalore sees 2,000 rossogollas being sold daily over the counter at the MG Road outlet alone. In less than a week, Chennai has clocked 1,000 rossogollas a day. All this fuss over a ball of cheese boiled in sugar syrup? Well, as a former colleague, Bishwanath Ghosh, details in his new book, Longing Belonging, the sweet has a story worth recounting. About Nobin Chandra Das who ‘invented’ the rossogolla in Kolkata in 1868. And how when he died at 80, his son, Krishna Chandra, went on to create the rossomalai. Then came Krishna’s youngest son, Sarada Charan, who expanded the business, and introduced Bangalore to the ‘snowball’. Today there are over 17 outlets in Bangalore, seven in Kolkata, two in Chennai and others expected in Hyderabad and Mumbai.
Role for spice
In Chennai, KC Das is at Nungambakkam and Shanti Colony. Snacks like the spicy samosas and the luchis (puris fried in ghee) served with potato and dal are beginning to see longer queues. And the malpua, possibly the oldest Bengali sweet, may play more than a cameo. With the central kitchen on the ECR, the two franchise owners are working out the logistics, but they promise that soon, there will be more than enough rossogollas to go around.
The Shanti Colony store opens at 10.30 am. Details:42630363
— Rosella Stephen