A sweet tour of India

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Calcutta’s iconic rasgulla, Mysore’s velvety ghee Mysore Pak, Hyderabad’s favourite Karachi biscuit, Pune’s savoury best Bakarwadi, Kumbakonam unique sweet dry jamun, Srivilliputhur milk sweet Palkova, Thootukudi’s bite-sized bliss ‘kuchi mittai’, Tirunelveli’s own dessert halwa... The Bhakshya bakery is a melting pot of flavours with sweets and savoury snacks from all around India.

The bakery is the brainchild of Karthik S H, a passionate traveller and foodie. During one of his trips, he had what one would call a lightbulb moment. “I always like to savour the local flavours while travelling. Exploring new tastes is like unlocking a piece of the culture for me. And that got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a place where all these flavours could come together?” Karthik smiles.

And the rest is history as they say. Karthik answered his question by bringing authentic sweets and savouries from various corners of the country to the capital city. He took a six-month break from his job as an executive producer to open the bakery on West Street at Vazhappally Jn and called it Bhakshya — the Bites of Bharat. Here, he curates sweets and snacks from renowned shops across India.

The unique business comes with its own challenges, especially transportation and the shelf-life of products sourced from the northern regions. Despite being aware of these risks, Karthik remained firm in his idea and refused to compromise on the quality.

“It was quite challenging,” he admits, “especially when dealing with wholesale sellers who prefer bulk orders. However, I couldn’t take large orders. So, I proposed a solution that I would place minimum orders but do so multiple times, taking care of all transportation logistics myself.”

In addition to authentic flavours, the bakery offers popular products like ‘Sweet Karam Coffee’ known for its homemade quality and absence of palm oil and preservatives.

“We make an effort to understand the backstory of every product from the vendors. When people come to buy something, we explain these tales and how the product is made, the ingredients, and where it comesfrom. This way, people get excited and they can try different items from different places. Otherwise, one would be just picking a packet and taking it home, without understanding them,” says Karthik.

Now, Karthik says, the store offers over 100 products. “However, there is still much more to explore. Sometimes, my customers often recommend sweets and places we’ve never even heard of. Therefore, my primary goal is to cover the entire country and bring authentic flavours to my city,” says Karthik. His wife, Parvathy N, who shares the same passion for food and travel, has been by his side through this culinary journey.

Atreyapuram Pootharekulu from Andhra Pradesh is one of the most popular sweets among customers, he says. These sweets are made by the women of Atreyapuram as part of an empowerment programme initiated by their state government.

Since its opening in September, Bhakshya has quickly established itself as the go-to destination for food lovers, particularly those who want to explore diverse flavours. In Karthik’s words, it’s not just about taste; it is also about connecting to a far-away place’s history, culture, and tradition.

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