Naogaon's traditional Pera shondesh has been famous among the various sweetmeats in the country. Thought, It was traditionally made for offerings to Hindu gods and goddesses in Naogaon, it has now gained popularity throughout the country and abroad.
With the coming Eid festival, too, its demand has increased.
Pera Shondesh has secured a place in people’s hearts because of its unique taste. Originating from the city of Naogaon, it was popularised throughout the country.
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Pera Shondesh wins the hearts of customers of Naogaon and beyond Dhaka Tribune
There are many small sweetmeat shops adjacent to the main gate of Naogaon's Kalitola puja mandap. According to local sweetmeat artisans, these shops are especially call “Bhoger Dokan” – bhog is traditionally the sweets offered to worshippers during pujas. Many years ago, shopkeepers have first started to make Pera Shondesh to meet the demand for sweets during pujas.
However, gradually due to its health benefits and flavour Pera Shondesh has been popular beyond the puja mandaps.
A long time ago when there were only so many settlements in Kalitola area, a local called Mohendra Das first made this delicious sweetmeat. Mohendra's shop was later succeeded by his son Dhirendranath Das.
During those days, a sweetmeat artisan, Bimal Mohanto, became widely popular for making this dessert.
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Initially, Pera Shondesh used to be offered as "bhog" -- the traditional sweets offered during pujas Dhaka Tribune
Afterwards, Shuresh brought in a new sweetmeat artisan, Narayan Chandra Promanik in his shop. Narayan has since been making pera shondesh.
Later, the ownership of this shop, Ma, changed again. Currently, Boudo Ratan owns it, however, Narayan remains – catering to the needs of many customers who frequent their shop.
The owner of Naogaon Mishtanno Bhandar, Nazmul Haque, told the Bangla Tribune: “The first step of making Pera Shondesh is to make Kheer by boiling liquid milk with sugar.”
Then when the Kheer thickens and sticks to the hands, small portions of that sticky but soft dough are rolled and slightly pressed to make Pera Shondesh.
Each of these sweetmeats are half an inch in width and two inches in length. 75-80 pieces of these make a kilogram which requires 7 litres of liquid milk.
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The production of pera shondesh has been passed down from generations of sweetmeat shopkeepers in Naogaon Dhaka Tribune
Since, it is only made with milk and sugar, Pera Shondesh stays fresh for 10-15 days in room temperature. If kept in a refrigerator, it can be enjoyed over a month. Thus making it possible to be exported aboard without any hassle or fear of going stale.
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Pera Shondesh can be stored and enjoyed for many days Dhaka Tribune
A customer, Abzal Hossain, said he will send “Naogaon's famous Pera shondesh” to his daughter who lives in Kuwait. He added that his grandchildren called him and especially requested him to send them.
Another customer, Rozia, said many of her relatives are visiting her for Eid and their most favourite dessert is “Naogaon's famous Pera Shondesh” – an expression that is used to emphasise its speciality.
She added: “You can keep this at home for days – so I am buying a good amount. I have tasted sweetmeats from various places but Pera Shondesh is incomparable.”
A sweetmeat shop manager from Kalitola, Showkat Das, said: “Pera Shondesh artisans have been ceaselessly carrying on their family tradition of making this famous sweetmeat and supplying it. It is not only enjoyed during various religious festivals but people like to buy it when they visit their relatives.”
He added: “Moreover, many customers from India, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Malaysia and others buy this Shondesh and take it abroad. It not only provides costumer satisfaction, but it is also profitable for shop owners who charge Tk300-320 per kg for this sweetmeat. Also, Pera Shondesh is unmatchable when it comes to its taste and quality.”