Gold-dusted pedas & laddoos that cost the moon
Super-luxury mithais priced upwards of Rs 20,000/kg - the new food fashion for HNIs, star items at weddings.
Take this ultra-luxury makeover of the besan laddoo with French Valrhona chocolate — one of the world’s most expensive — filling, or a peda with a rich caramel filling by Arq, dusted off with edible gold. Most setups creating and selling these super-pricey sweets are run as niche, urban startups, with entrepreneurs often equipped with formal training as pastry chefs. But some old-school halwais are also in this game. And customers include the Ambanis.
Delhi’s Gur-Chini, a super-luxury sweetmaker, has a 46-member team and it supplied over 800 boxes to go with Akash Ambani -Shloka Mehta wedding invites. Their ‘swarnmistha’ is made from Italian pistachio and edible gold varq and is priced at Rs 21,000/kg.
Delhi-based Khoya delivered a freshly-made 40 kg consignment of six different varieties of luxury sweets to guests at the Isha Ambani-Anand Piramal wedding.
“We’re the Hermes of the Indian sweet world,” says Ashay Dhopatkar, cofounder of Arq. Dhopatkar, a former chef at one of Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants in the UK, set up Arq with Cordon Bleu chef Neha Lakhani. The duo’s culinary background in French cooking helped them craft, they say, sweets like parfis (Peshawari pistachio barfis) and dark Valrhona chocolate laddoos.
Typically, these sweets are by the box, not by kilogram, and refined packaging is part of their appeal.
Former banker Sid Mathur, also director of Impresario Entertainment, runs his firm Khoya out of posh Delhi addresses like the Chanakya mall. Khoya’s halwais — who had previously worked with companies such as Haldiram and Bikanerwala — had to be taught to make high-quality mithai without worrying about the cost, he says.
Bliss Barfi’s founder Nin Bassi runs the outfit in Britain and has clients in India, too. Bliss says one of its “unique” creations was a barfi sold at the Savoy Classic in the UK — milk barfi dipped in high grade Belgian chocolate topped with edible 24 carat gold.
STEADY DEMAND FROM WEDDINGS
As for halwais, a store by the name Prashant Corner in Thane and Chappan Bhog in Lucknow have been known to sell special mithais for as much as Rs 30,000/kg.
There are more super-pricey mithai-makers — Gurgaon’s Berfila, whose specialties include raspberry motichoor laddoos and chocolate and chhena laddoos, and the soon-to-come By Jiggs Kalra brand, to be launched by Massive Restaurants, are among these niche brands.
Big fat Indian weddings is a steady demand source for these businesses. Mehak Sagar Shahani, cofounder of WedMeGood, an online wedding planning portal, estimates the Indian wedding market at around $40 billion.
About 5% of the wedding queries the website receives, Shahani says, are from niche mithai buyers. Big weddings typically spend at least Rs 3-10 lakhs on the invites alone, and luxury sweets are add-ons to those invites.