Historical references to shondesh go back to the fifteenth century Bengali translation of the epic Ramayana by Krittibasi Ojha. Historians believe these sweetmeats were made with ‘kheer’ or condensed milk. Anecdotes have it that the practice of using ‘chhana’ or cottage cheese was introduced by Portuguese settlers in the Bandel area near present-day Kolkata. Shondesh however earned its place in Bengali social life only after the emergence of Kolkata as the second city of British empire. In 1851 Bhola Moira opened his sweet shop and took the dessert to a commercial level. Since then, shondesh , which literally means ‘message’ in Bangla, has been the harbinger of good news and become an integral part of Bengali social life.