MAWA Ladoo.
MAWA Ladoo.

Durban Dessert Festival: for the love of all things sweet

By Nonjabulo Bhengu Time of article published Nov 25, 2021

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LIFESTYLE – The Durban Dessert Festival which is aimed at showcasing some of the best local dessert makers in South Africa kicks off this weekend, running from November 26 to 28.

Bhumika Bhatt, 38, a local businesswoman and Durban Dessert Festival participant, will be showcasing and selling authentic and gourmet Indian desserts.

GHEWAR – a Rajasthani cuisine disc-shaped sweet made from ghee, flour, and sugar syrup.

She said that the event was a chance for her to showcase her skills to the public.

“I believe that our desserts are unique and people will enjoy trying something new that they have never tried before,” Bhatt said.

Bhatt, who is originally from Gujarat in India, said that she has come a long way since she moved to South Africa in 2003.

“Growing up I did not know much about cooking, but after marrying my husband, my mother and father-in-law taught me how to cook and then I joined their food business,” she said.

Bhatt, who is a mother of two daughters, said that she has her hands full taking care of her children (who are in Grade 5 and matric), but she helps out at their restaurant on a part-time basis.

Bhatt said Chillie & Chaat, their family business is located in the Durban CBD and has been around for 22 years. They specialise in authentic Indian cuisine including some desserts such as Mawa Kachori (Indian hand pies filled with mawa/khoya (evaporated milk solids) and mixed nuts, deep-fried and dipped in sugar syrup.)

MAWA Kachori.

Bhatt said she heard about the Durban Dessert Festival through social media. At the time she was still selling her food at the Essenwood Market in Musgrave, Durban.

“The organiser for the Durban Dessert Festival saw my food at the market in Musgrave in 2018 and said my food and desserts were different, and asked me to join their event,” Bhatt said.

APPLE and Watermelon Burfi.

Bhatt said their business officially started taking part in the Durban Dessert Festival in 2019. She said that the festival’s team and attendees are very supportive of local businesses and enjoy seeing something new.

“I love the festival because it allows me to showcase my creativity and I can show people the different varieties in Indian cultural foods, and introduce different kinds of food to South Africans,” she said.

Bhatt said due to Covid-19 restrictions it has been difficult for many businesses to stay afloat. She is glad for the return of the Durban Dessert Festival because it will reintroduce people to local food businesses and boost their sales as a business.

“The Durban Dessert Festival has been around for a long time and has been doing very well, I hope that this year will also be as successful and people come and support the event,” she said.

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