India Awards Bengal Geographical Indication For Rosogolla Over Odisha : The Salt India officially recognized the dessert rosogolla as a dish from the state of West Bengal. NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks with opinion writer Madhumita Saha about the importance of this designation.
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The Fight Over Ownership Of An Indian Dessert Comes To A Bittersweet End

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The Fight Over Ownership Of An Indian Dessert Comes To A Bittersweet End

The Fight Over Ownership Of An Indian Dessert Comes To A Bittersweet End

The Fight Over Ownership Of An Indian Dessert Comes To A Bittersweet End

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/565153447/565153448" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Rosogolla, a popular Indian treat, is commonly made with cottage cheese and sugar syrup. India recently granted the eastern state of Bengal ownership rights for the dessert. Nupur Dasgupta/Flickr hide caption

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Nupur Dasgupta/Flickr

Rosogolla, a popular Indian treat, is commonly made with cottage cheese and sugar syrup. India recently granted the eastern state of Bengal ownership rights for the dessert.

Nupur Dasgupta/Flickr

Kebabs, tikka masala, biryani, naan – these Indian dishes are well-known worldwide. But, you may soon see a new Indian dessert joining their ranks at your favorite Indian shops and restaurant.

Rosogolla, a round confection made with cottage cheese and sugar syrup, is a relatively cheap popular sweet treat in India, says Madhumita Saha, an opinion writer for World Is One News (WION).

"It's as good as baklava," she says.

It's so good, in fact, that two neighboring states in East India fought over where the dessert came from - West Bengal or Odisha. Last year, Odisha (formerly known as Orissa) applied for a geographical indication, or a GI tag, to have ownership rights over rosogolla. But Saha's home state of West Bengal, also called Bengal, won out.

"It's more of a cultural battle that got fought, and Bengal absolutely put its foot down winning it," she says.

Because Bengal was awarded the GI tag, the designation means that wherever rosogolla is made the Bengali way, the state has to be recognized.

"So it's just like a French wine. You have to mention where it comes from. Or the California wines," Saha says. "You can prepare it, you can manufacture it, you can sell it. But if you are making the type of rosogollas, Bengal rosogollas, you have to say it's Bengal rosogollas."

Saha says she hopes the tag will help make Bengal rosogolla internationally famous. And the fight over the GI tag could put the dish in a certain global spotlight that doesn't hurt, either.

"Through this GI battle, it gets some amount of global publicity, and it gets to be featured in some of the best restaurants of New York City or in San Francisco, in Paris and in London. I'll be happy to see that happen. Otherwise, OK. I enjoyed the fight."

But, the fight may not be over just yet. WION reports that the Odisha government is planning to apply for a GI tag for "Odishara Rasagola" in January.

NPR Digital News intern Isabel Dobrin produced this story for the Web.