Monday’s post massaged my online shopping gland. For several hours after writing it, I found I wasn’t concentrating properly. My thoughts kept wandering in the direction of squashy, silky, sugary Indian sweets like the ones from Ambala Foods. Eventually I gave in and ordered a 500g box. At £3.90, these boxes are fantastic value, so their purchase won’t weigh heavily on your mind. ( Your hips are another matter.)
Ambala cooks the sweets on the day they’re ordered and ships them immediately, to arrive with you within 24 hours. I don’t know whether it’s the freshness or the light but calculated hand with highly fragrant spices that makes them so exceptionally good, but I can tell you that we polished off a whole box in one evening. My pancreas still hurts.
It hurts because these sweets are…well…incredibly sweet. If you love the milky, tooth-hurting, concentrated sweetness of good English fudge, you’ll roll over and whimper with happiness when presented with a box of Ambala’s sweets. The 500g box contains a selection of Barfis (a condensed milk block); Halvas (sweetened nut pastes cut into rectangles); some syrup-soaked, spongy Gulabjamun and Chamcham (packed in a little plastic bag to keep them moist); a ceremonial sweet called Motichoor Ladoo (the round sweet in a black paper cup at the top of the page); and my favourite, the milky, silky pera.
Here’s the Motichoor ladoo. It’s a traditional sweet, eaten only at very special occasions, like weddings and festivals. It’s also given as a very special gift. It’s a lovely little mouthful made from little pellets of gram flour, sugar and ghee, which is cooked in a sugary syrup. A little pistachio is sprinkled on top.
Pera (right) is, according to Ambala, a sweet which is loved by children. I love it too – it’s made from sugary curds of milk, flavoured with saffron, and is sweetly silky. Each of these sweets is available to order individually, alongside some other mixed boxes, including one which is full of very lovely, fudgy Barfi.
My favourite Barfi are the plain ones. Their scented flavouring is beautifully put together; the flavour comes from orris root (the root of a highly fragranced iris, which is also used in perfumery) and cardamom seed. This box also contains Barfi with almonds and pistachios, and a slice of amazing carrot Halwa, which is also flavoured with that incredible orris root.
I’ve gone off fudge for good.