Shining like a precious jewel along the western coastline of the country, Goa is known for its alluring amalgamation of three diverse cultures-the French, the Portuguese and the Indian. Amongst an array of bountiful presents offered by the scenic state, what leaves an unmatched impression on the minds of its visitors is its sprawling cuisine.
While tourists may topple in their love for the choicest varieties of seafood, what has us drooling is the Goa's dessert spread. From a local delicacy that comes with semblances of north India's 'Gujia' to a range of sweet servings having a European appeal, you simply can't enjoy it all in one trip! If you are lost in your sugar-dipped imaginations already, let us take you on a tour of the 14 most relished Goan desserts.
Known as the 'queen of Goan desserts' Bebinca brings to the plate, the rich flavours from Portugal, adorned with a traditional Indian twist. An exquisite dessert, Bebinca has become such an inseparable part of the Goan life that it is impossible for any revelry, small or big as it may be, to not have it. The succulent dish is a preparation from a coconut flavoured batter that is baked into a cake with multiple layers separated by desi ghee. A single serving of this Goan dessert might fuel your cravings instead of satiating them! While different versions of Bebcina have garnered humongous popularity from the tourists, the servings of Mr. Baker 1992, Viva Panjim, Martin's Corner, Souza Lobo amidst others, are some of the most appreciated ones.
Kidiyo or Kulkul
Kidiyo or Kulkul is generally prepared as a part of a 22-item spread called Kuswar, for Christmas celebrations. The sweet is not only famous in Goa but has also garnered patronage from the East Indian community of Maharashtra. Known widely for its unique golden colour and crunch, Kidiyo is one of the most famous munchies found in Goan homes. Found in all traditional Goan home kitchens, Kidiyo/Kulkul takes just one bite to ensure that you ask for it again and again!
Another part and parcel of the Christmas table is the delectable sweet called Coconut Ice. Prepared using three chief ingredients of grated coconut, condensed milk and sugar, this brings together a blossom of bountiful sweetness, leaving an unsurpassable impression of your tongue. The most interesting feature of this Goan sweet, is that it can be made quickly in a few minutes, with no cooking involved!
One of the classic goan sweets, Perad or 'Guava Cheese' is the love of guavas tossed into a soulful serving. Known as 'Goiabada' in Portuguese, this sweet will activate your taste buds up to heavenly levels! Prepared with guava pulp, this opulent sweet comes with a deliciously soft core and firm peripheries, delivering you moments enveloped in absolute magic!
While turmeric constitutes an important part of almost all Indian savouries, Goa twists turmeric leaves into a delish dessert which gives a completely new definition to the joy of jaggery. What promises you a definitely different experience, is the coming together of cardamom and grated coconut! Usually prepared for the feast of Assumption of Mary, Patoleo is a relished sweet on a number of special occasions in Goa.
Are you enamoured by the famous Gujhiyas from north India or Karanji from Maharashtra? Yes or no, as the answer may be, we are sure that the Goan version would just hit the right spot, gifting you complete contentment. Stuffed with a mixture of coconut, poppy seeds, cardamom and almonds complemented by sugar or jaggery, the crispy dumplings make for an unavoidable treat to your sweet senses!
Bolo De Rulao
Having a Portuguese name that translates to 'the cream of wheat cake', Bolo De Rulao is a treasured delicacy not just in the towns but also in the villages and suburbs of Goa. The cake, with its quintessential corn texture, lends an everlasting memory to your palate. Once you get to devour your slice, we are sure you would be charged with curiosity to know its perfect recipe!
Made with lots of love and patience, this sweet brings together different members of a Goan family during its preparation. Given the efforts and tremendous stirring involved, you are bound to get an impeccable result at the end. Be it artistically adorned with dry fruits or without any garnish, this dish undoubtedly ranks high in the taste alley! Simple as this dish is, in terms of ingredients, the flavours would assuredly take you on a trip of your sugar-soaked dreams.
Another luscious component of Goa's dessert spread is Dodol, a rich fusion of coconut milk, rice flour, jaggery, almonds, cashews and an immeasurable amount of drool-worthy satisfaction. While the process of preparation is quite tedious for this dish, the efforts surely transform into a palatable pudding that makes for a soulful summing up to any hearty meal! Sold perennially in local markets, you can't be back from a Goan trip without getting your pack.
Often eaten as a tea-time snack, Pinaca is a magical medley of jaggery and coconut with a hint of cardamom, blending together three of Goa's quintessential ingredients. A customary essential for Goa's Christmas spread, it will touch your heart in the right place at the first bite. Cylinder-shaped delicacies that resemble croquettes, Pinaca with its special delights, accounts for a truly satisfying binge-munching experience!
An important part of the wedding festivities, Bol is a highly adored Goan dessert. Adding to its distinct colour and taste, palm jaggery is the tantalizing treasure of this delicacy. If a Goan wedding is somewhere amid your future travel plans, you can't afford to miss this dessert of wholesomeness. Grabbing a piece of it would surely accentuate all your grub-gravities and multiply all your cravings!
If you are willing to sign-up for a luxurious sweet ride in Goa, Alle Belle can't be missed. Filled with a tempting mix of coconut and jaggery, these packets of absolute joy are mostly enjoyed with evening teas. The mild and thin covers encapsulating yummy yet rustic flavours will leave you asking for more! Amongst a string of stores serving this simple yet scrumptious dessert, Nostalgia, Cafe Ave Maria and O Coquerio are some of the most prominent names.
If you are somebody who is a fan of instant desserts, it is almost improbable that this won't win your heart! Meaning 'sawdust' in Portuguese, Serradura is prepared using crushed biscuits that give it the feel of the thing that it is named after. While a number of stores offer lip-smacking kinds of this fancy dessert, you must try the ones served by Cremeux Cafe & Bistro, Prime Rose, Just Lobo's amongst others.
Made with semolina and coconut, Bolinhas are cookies that pack a surprise of soft crumble in crispy covers. This delicacy is so deeply rooted in the state's cultural heritage that a Christmas sweets' platter would be called incomplete in its absence, irrespective of how heavily-laden the spread is! The delicate texture and irresistible taste of these Goan cookies make them the perfect evening munchies, igniting your love for nibbling.
While you must have lost your heart multiple times to the charming landscape of Goa, we are confident that this enticing presentation of some of the most sumptuous desserts from the state has only amplified the fascination. If you possess an insatiable sweet tooth, you can't find a better list than this, to add to your 'eat-inerary' while traversing through the state. Feed this in your memory and you will surely thank us later!