M3 Features

Mihidana, Sitabhog to cater to global markets

January 13, 2014

Among all the traditional Bengali sweets that are popular among Bengalis are three delicacies born, bred and perfected in Burdwan district — sitabhog, mihidana and lyangcha. To further popularise these sweets among the global connoisseurs of sweets, the district administration has taken the lead to impart packaging training to sweetmeat-makers of the district as a first step towards equipping them with the skills essential in their quest for global markets.

Catering to a global audience

“There are very few Bengalis abroad who don’t long for these Burdwan delicacies. With improvements in preservation and packaging techniques, sitabhog and mihidana can be easily exported. This training is a first step towards realising that dream,” Swadesh Kumar Sarkar, former joint director of the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP), told a leading national daily.

But better packaging is only one aspect of the journey abroad. Most important, the making of sitabhog, mihidana and lyangcha has to be mechanised with the least intervention by human hands.

Earlier this month, Sarkar and some IIP officials addressed an eager audience on the need to package the products well. They also brought a packaging machine and demonstrated how it can be done without human intervention.

GI tag for sweets

With the authorities filing an application for Geographical Indicator Status (like that of Darjeeling tea), the need for packaging has become imperative now. Mihidana and sitabhog have a colonial past quite like the ledicany that was created to please Lady Canning. Lord Curzon visited Burdwan in 1905 and, to please him, the maharaja ordered sweetmeat-makers of the district to come up with something unique. And so were born mihidana and sitabhog.

More than a century later, the leap from heritage to commercial success may need a packaging push.

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