Annapurna Bhandar – Chandni Chowk
– Ayushi Mathur
Bengal is known for its numerous ambrosial delicacies and when it comes to desserts, Bengalis surely make some of the finest. The well-known sweets from Bengal are easily available around the city but to indulge in the most authentic form of Bengali dessert, one has to travel to Chandni Chowk market. In the ever so crowded streets of the market, lies a small and peaceful shop, known for its delicious sweet treats, called Annapurna Bhandar.
In 1920 Late Mr. Mohinimohan Mukherjee moved to the city of Delhi as a railway employee but unfortunately ended up losing one of his legs in an accident in the following year. Unable to continue as a railway operator, he decided to open a small sweet shop in the city in the year of 1922 to cater to the small Bengali community that resided in the area. Within seven years it grew in popularity and the final version of the shop was ready in the main market. The shop, then, had similar interiors to that of a railway coach. However in order to keep up with the wear and tear, the interiors had to be changed to its present form. The shop, Annapurna Bhandar, today is owned by the third generation in Mr. Mukherjee’s family and still retains its former glory despite its modern design.
The shop offers a wide-ranging menu right from the traditional spongy Rasgullas to the lesser known yet exquisite desserts like Kadambari. As I entered the shop, seeming perplexed by the umpteen choices available, Mr. Mukherjee asked me if I was looking for an extra sweet dessert or one that wasn’t too sweet. I decided to go with lightly sweetened and was suggested to try Rasomadhuri and Mishti Doi. I have to agree, I was hearing the name Rasomadhuri for the very first time and this made me even more excited to try it. Rasomadhuri has a very lightly saccharine taste and feels granular while chewing. It leaves an aftertaste of fresh pistachio in the mouth. Mishti Doi is velvety and flavorsome. The sugar in both the desserts was well blended and did not taste like extra sweeteners had been added.
All the sweets in the shop are made with cow milk and prepared fresh every day. Even with the immense popularity of the shop, Mr. Mukherjee remains uncertain of the future as the following generations are not keen on maintaining the family business. Despite the uncertainties, I am sure Annapurna Bhandar will continue serving delectable sweets for years to come as it is not just any family business, it is a legacy.