Bengali Sweets and Portuguese Influence

Tyler Cowen of MR comments

If I had a thousand dissertations to research, one of them would be: “The historical interconnections between the Portuguese dessert and the Calcutta sweets shop.”

For those who are curious

in the 1579-80 Antonio Tavares founded Ugolim (Hooghly) at the mouth of the Ganges near the first settlement of Satgaon. The town grew rapidly, the religious orders erected many churches, and, in 1603, it had about 5000 Portuguese inhabitants. Satgaon was again under the authority of the Portuguese  from 1590s but Ugolim outshinned this settlement.

These were settlements right next to what eventually became Calcutta under the British rule.

Apparently the Portuguese were the ones who taught the natives the process of curdling milk and making Chhena that is the base for Benagali sweets like Sandesh and Rosogolla.


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