Varanasi, also known as Banaras, is emblematic of Indian tradition and culture. Rustic buildings, serpentine lanes, spirituality, yoga, architecture, and above all, food, make it a tourist hotspot. While the street food in Banaras is to die for, it is equally famous for its sweets. And even though many sweet dishes like Ras Piyab, Akbari, Ola, and Badam Imarti exist only in memories now, there are still many to savour. Here are two iconic sweets of Varanasi that you cannot afford to miss on your next trip. By Kumar Shree

Lavang Lata

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ashwani || Food Blogger (@myhungerstory) on

When Bengal’s lobongo latika reached Banaras about 500 years ago, the spiritual city embraced it and called it lavang lata. While the form and appearance changed, the taste remained the same. Lavang lata is made of maida or white flour that forms a pocket for the filling inside. The filling is made of mawa or khoa and meva. A ball of maida is first rolled like chapati and is topped with fillings. It is then folded like a traveller’s bed, and sealed with a lavang (clove), from where it gets its name. This pocket is deep-fried in ghee until it turns golden brown. Once the desired colour is attained, it goes straight into the sugar syrup. This sinfully good dessert is also the bestselling in Varanasi and is easily available at sweets and snacks shops around the city. However, our on-ground sources recommend having it from Madhur Milan, Sigra. 

Malaiyyo

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by 𝑇𝑢𝑠𝒉𝑎𝑟 𝑆𝒉𝑎𝑟𝑚𝑎 (@bhookachef) on

Malaiyyo is another iconic sweet of Banaras. It is seasonal and is available only in winters. The milk is first boiled and left outside overnight, to soak the goodness of dew. Next morning, cardamom, pistachio, cream, and saffron is added to the milk. This mixture is then churned, and the foam that comes out is separated from the mix. This foam is called Malaiyyo. The churning process was done manually in the past and would take hours of effort. It has been made easier by machines now, but the technique still holds a lot of importance. When a serving of Malaiyyo comes to you, you might wonder what it is; it looks like clouds in a cup. It is so light and fluffy that you can eat tens of cups at one go. We would recommend buying a cup of this dessert from Markandeya, Chaukhamba or Laxman, Bhartendu Bhavan. 

Related: Varanasi Unearths 4,000-Year-Old Craft Village During Excavation