Meet the rosogolla, Eastern India’s finest. Think of it as a squishy-yet-dense, cheesecake-ish dumpling, The dessert’s history is unclear and as a result, it is hotly debated. Two states in Eastern India have fought for a protected Geographic Indication (the same policy that protects sparkling wines from the Champagne region of France), with one state claiming it was invented and cited in religious scriptures over five centuries ago, and another pointing to the sweet shops of the 1800s in its cities. Whatever the case, the rosogolla is a widely beloved dessert across India that became commercialized in the 1930s, when a sweetmaker discovered the ability to vacuum seal them and ship them across the country (and beyond). My emotion: nostalgia and comfort. It is the food of my childhood, and something that makes me think of my parents, who immigrated here before I was born and would make this labor-intensive food since shops in Buffalo, NY didn’t have them. My attitude: somewhere between perplexed and appreciative. I don’t get the strange nationalism behind the dish, but love its complexity. Belief: it probably had an older origin than the 19th century, but made its true final appearance in the 1930s. Both states are right.
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