The 137-year-old sweet legacy of Kolkata – Times of India

Kolkata is the city where life is as much about creativity as it is about food. From discerning the freshest fish by looking into the eyes of an illish to allowing sondesh to melt on their tongues, true Bengalis, no matter how busy, will always find time for these “important” things while shopping for food. With over a lakh of sweet shops in Kolkata, choosing the best is no easy feat.


Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick: A legacy of taste
But one heritage shop stands out, having gained international acclaim for its consistency and taste: Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick. This 137-year-old family business, now in its fourth generation under the leadership of Sudip Mullick, has seen many changes over time. “Packaging has changed, we’ve adopted international hygiene standards, and our kitchen is equipped with modern technology and machinery. Yet, two things remain constant: our quality and traditional recipes,” says Sudip.


Expansion and innovation
Organic growth due huge demand has led to the expansion of Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick beyond its iconic Salt Lake shop. They now boast 30,000 central kitchens equipped with state-of-the-art machinery and utensils, akin to a cheese factory in Europe.

Jhol Bhora Sandesh, Norom Pak Sandesh, Nolen Gur Sandesh, Baked Rosogolla, Mango Doi, and Souffle Sandesh are their best-selling items, captivating not only locals but also celebrities who return again and again for their favorite mishti. “One night, I received a call that I instantly recognized. It was Sachin Tendulkar! I was speechless. He said he’d never had a dessert like our Mango Gelato and wanted to thank us for that unforgettable experience,” recalls Sudip.


Bollywood stars like Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sara Ali Khan, along with poets, politicians, and sportspersons, frequent the shop. Sudip reminisces, “Once, Javagal Srinath visited us and said, ‘Dada (Sourav Ganguly) ko khilata hai ki nai ye sab mithai? Ye sab bahot acha hai’ (Does Dada get to eat all these sweets? They’re all delicious!)”

Adding a touch of modernity
“There were never any machines specifically made for Bengali sweets, so we had to find creative solutions. For Jol Bhora Sondesh, we adopted a machine used for making Mochi in Japan. It surprised everyone that this machine could make 8,000 pieces of sandesh in an hour, which was impossible with manual labor. This significantly increased our production,” explains Sudip.

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“The first machine I introduced was a dough kneading machine, a common tool in the bakery industry. But it was unheard of in the sweet industry. This allowed us to improve our hygiene levels. Similarly, I introduced a cream beater for ladoo making. Initially, the carigars were hesitant, but after trials and errors, they embraced the technology, leading to a significant increase in production.”

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Future aspirations
While Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick currently operates solely in Kolkata, Sudip envisions a future where it becomes an international enterprise like Cadbury, 50 years down the line. With both art and technology on their side, taking the iconic sweet shop to another level is no mean thing.

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