Indian sweet 'Magji Laddu' from Odisha awarded Geographical Indication Tag

Indian sweet 'Magji Laddu' from Odisha awarded Geographical Indication Tag

The sweet is made with buffalo milk cheese, boiled with sugar, and infused with cardamom

Odisha's Magji Laddu
Odisha's Magji Laddu Image Credit: odishaheritage

Sweet lovers across India have a new reason to celebrate as the delectable Indian sweet 'Magji' from Odisha's Dhenkanal district has been honoured with the prestigious Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

The Dhenkanal Sweets Association, in collaboration with the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), applied to the Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai in 2020 for the GI tag for 'Magji Laddu'.

According to local news reports, Chakradhar Sahu of Sadangi village under Gandia block in Dhenkanal district was the first to prepare this sweet. This tradition has been passed down through generations, adding to its cultural significance.

“The process of preparing 'Magji Laddu' is a testament to the beauty of simplicity,” said Hrishikesh Sahu, a local confectioner, while talking to Orissa Post, a local news source. The key ingredient is buffalo milk cheese, and the process involves boiling cheese and sugar, adding crushed cardamom, and then rolling the mixture into small balls, a meticulous process that requires skill and patience.

According to Odisha, this delicacy is one of the 56 meals known as 'chappan bhog' that are offered at Puri Jagannath Temple. Chappan means the number 56 in Hindi language and bhog means 'food offering'. It is also a Unesco World Heritage Site known for its intricate architecture.

In January 2024, Kai Chutney or red weaver ant chutney, from the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, was also awarded a Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

"Many indigenous people in the district have been consuming kai chutney for generations as a remedy for colds and fevers," explains 30-year-old Madhei, who belongs to the Bathudi tribe, speaking to Inter Press Service. In the landscape near the Simlipal Tiger Reserve in the Mayurbhanj district, various tribes such as Kolha, Santal, Bhumija, Gond, Ho, Khadia, Mankidia, and Lodhas cherish this unique dish, according to the website.

Earlier, Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, in one of his series, ‘Gordon's Great Escape’, which has around 20 million subscribers, posted a video where he makes and eats this very ant chutney and said, “This is what you call a chutney. Its delicious. It's made with red chilli, salt, ginger, ants, and its eggs. It's rich in protein where meat is hard to come by.”

What is a Geographical Indication (GI) tag?
The GI tag is given to products that have specific geographical origins and characteristics associated with a particular location. It is a trade name or trade sign given to a food product, handicrafts, and industrial products which originated from a particular region, or it should be a unique native product from that area or it should be a high productivity volume from that area or state. So far, around 635 products in India have been granted the GI tag. The first GI tag in the country was given 20 years ago to the famous Darjeeling tea.

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