|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 80, Tuesday, August 11, 2009|
Sugar and spice and everything nice
Premium Sweets by Central, tucked away between Road 4 and Road 3, in between a Mogul-styled beetle-leaf shop and other exotic extravaganzas of Dhanmondi, has quite a collection of wares. There is a cornucopia of “slurpy” sweets, yummy biscuits and an unimaginable range of savoury "chanachur" to delight the palate. These are geared up for festive occasions such as but not limited to, a bank banquet, a gala outlandish marriage, Eid and Christmas.
These products are also exported to Toronto, New York and Melbourne, as the bright-eyed staff members tell you. Smaller quantities for the weekend family table or picnics are presented by the helping hands, dressed up with their swishing ties and in-vogue shoes.
Working in three shifts, the staffs are intelligent, hard working and ever-smiling university and college students, absorbing subjects ranging from Biology to Bangla Literature. These young and enthusiastic staff members explain that they go to their educational institutions and then study at home before or after their duties at the shop.
Piped music, golden jazzy twines and bright ribbons in gauze brighten the ambiance of the shop. Humming with "joie de vivre", the shop operates from morning to 9pm. "Premium", with its superb offerings has a branch at Gulshan as well. Here the staff, girls with trousers and matching "gears", take the orders with a flash of spontaneous smiles.
Free samples of the delectable sweets and savoury delights are there to peck at, like some tray of "nibbles" at a cocktail party tray of offerings. One may sample at will, and wash down the desserts with chilled water, at beck and call.
To taste and buy are geometrical dainty pieces of carrot "halwa"; "gur-chamcham"; scrumptious, brown neat pieces dusted with creamy "mawa"; “brownies" (dry forms of non-greasy "habshi halwa"); yellow-golden-brown “neshasta halwa”, crammed with nuts of all ranges: walnut, almond and pistachio (Tk 550 per kg); round pieces of Scottish shortbread and oatmeal biscuits.
The list of goodies also includes mind-blowing lacy layers of "pati-shapta" (pancakes filled with thickened cream). These simply melt in the mouth and sure drive away the blues!
The diabetes plates of oblong "roshogolla", "shandesh", “dia bogh-sagar", are "grist that comes to mill" to "Premium"' desserts and savoury snacks. "Dia-khir toast” and "dia kacha-chana” comes at a price of Tk 1650 per kg. Lightly sweetened yoghurt comes in delightfully shaped clay pots and tiny cups to whet the appetite. What is remarkable about the products at this shop is that nothing appears to be too calorie worrying -- that's if one doesn't quite gorge oneself ad lib.
These food items can't compare with biscuits and sweetmeats at any local food joint. Blended flour, fresh milk, clarified butter or pure butter, "Spardon" sugar (or sugar-free condiments for the diabetic) and spices, like saffron are the "can't-put-away items". They appear like homemade "pithas" or "bickies" sans the mess and heat of the kitchen table.
For the peace of mind of the "health- fiends", redoubtable health authorities have approved of the goodies. What with the recurrent assails of flues and avian germ epidemics, one can safely cool one's heels at this air-conditioned "oasis". This may be in between studies, shopping or office schedules. Young romancing pairs and cuddled children, along with siblings and parents, haunt this place of bites and snacks.
There are three sizes of the golden gift boxes draped with golden chord with one kg or half kg contents. As regards the cost, the crunchy oatmeal "bickies" and the shortbread with their crisscross tops are at Tk 959 per pound. The marbled chocolate and vanilla brownies with cream and almond, comprising of layers of shades of brown, are available for Tk 795 per pound. Chocolate nut clusters at Tk 795 per lb, contain five types of yummy, crunchy nuts including creamy cashews. The Mexican embellished 'mouri ' and biscotti cookies, containing gleaming almonds and walnuts, are around Tk 700 per lb.
There are also nut and honey clusters, which naturally melt, if not refrigerated or eaten quickly, once removed from their casing of packets. Premium sweets are a sight for the blasé bourgeoisie about town.
Checking out items like "Summer delights" made of layers of lacy cream and tiny dots of winking, green pistachio or "Kashmiri cham-cham" or "Choco-barfi", loaded with cream and pistachio - one can spoil oneself for a change. And then skip the lunch -- for good measure!
By Fayza Haq
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