While the foodies know the city of Lucknow for its delectable kebabs, many are not aware that the city also owns the crown of having India’s most expensive sweet, Exotica that comes at a whopping price of Rs 50000 per kilogram. Designed and developed by the popular sweet shop Chhappan Bhog, the dry mithai is world recognized and is the result of sheer hard work of 52-year-old Ravindra Gupta, Director, Chhappan Bhog, who along with his 2 younger brothers and father started the sweets and snacks business in the year 1992.
Exotica is a bite-size dessert that is made with 7-8 ingredients sourced from different parts of the world. Ravindra informs, “Exotica is made with blueberries sourced from USA, macadamia from South Africa and Australia, hazelnut from Europe, pine nuts, saffron and mamra badam from other parts of the world.”
Every creation has a reason and for Ravindra and his team the opportunity to develop a premium sweet came near to Diwali in 2007, when a Delhi-based industrialist approached them to develop a sweet, rich in flavours but at the same time priceless. He recalls, “We studied the international sweets market and realised that there are a plethora of nuts and dry fruits that Michelin chefs keep on playing with, to create exotic flavours at their restaurants, and that is when the idea of bringing these flavours to India clicked us and Exotica came into existence. “The name is derived from the exotic flavours that this sweet dish offers,” he informs.
Available 365 days, one batch of Exotica takes 6-7 hours of making and is only available at the Sadar Bazaar, Lucknow store of Chhappan Bhog. Ravindra affirms, “These are no-fuss delights that come in bite size of 2.5 cms and are easy to carry because of the unique packaging.”
Exotica comes in a wooden treasure box (sandook), which adds to the beauty and USP of this dessert. Ravindra justifies, “Keeping the ingredients and its sourcing in view, it’s a sheer treasure for us and that is why we have designed this box, which also increases the shelf life by 20-30 days.” The most interesting part of this sweet is the outer coating which is made of pure edible gold.
Ravindra informs, “We all know about silver varq, which is run-of-the-mill and we wanted something totally different which can shine from a distance and give our creation a distinct look, that is when the idea of sourcing 100 percent edible gold leaves happened to us and in the very first go, it was loved by the family, who happens to be a part of the success of this delight.”
From industrialists to Bollywood, everyone has had their share of this sweet delight. Ravindra recalls, “From Bachchan family to Shatrughan Sinha, everyone has tasted this delight and we feel lucky that they all have loved it.” “Not only this, even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has loved the unique flavour of this creation, when he tasted it during his tenure as CM of Gujarat,” he calls with a hope that soon he will make PM Modi taste the proud sweet of India.