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Just desserts as Indian state wins battle over sweet

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A row over the origins of a popular Indian dessert that embroiled one of the country’s most senior politicians has ended with victory for the state of West Bengal. The sticky dispute centered around who first invented rosogulla a ball made of milk curds soaked in syrup.

In 2015 the government of another eastern Indian state, Odisha, claimed the sweet as its own. That prompted a backlash in West Bengal, which applied to have its claim recognized with an official “geographical indication” (GI) tag.

On Tuesday the Indian government awarded the GI tag to West Bengal, sparking celebrations in the capital Kolkata. “Sweet news for us all,” tweeted the state’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who had personally intervened in the dispute. “We are very happy and proud that #Bengal has been granted GI status for rosogolla.”

Kolkata is famous across India for its sweets, and Banerjee’s government argued that rosogollas had been invented by local confectioner Nabin Chandra Das in 1868. Odisha had reportedly commissioned research into its own claim. But Prashanth Kumar, senior examiner for GI, said his office had not received a rival application from the state.

Other Indian delicacies with the GI tag include Darjeeling tea and Naga chillis among the hottest in the world.

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