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Exploring the Goan Christmas sweet platter

Peek into the consuada to understand the bounty of Catholic Christmas culinary traditions.

Joanna Lobo

It’s that time of the year when the stars and cribs come out to play. The decorations are set up, lights twinkle in windows and kitchens get busy preparing sweets. The Goan Christmas sweet tray or the consuada (kuswar in Konkani) is an important part of the festival. These sweets pay tribute to the abundant fare available in the state, namely coconut, black coconut jaggery (madachem god), and cashew nuts, among others.

It is believed that 21 sweets and some savoury items adorn the tray – crispy mandares (rice chips), puffy voddes (deep fried sweet bread), marzipan (a cashew and sugar sweet, usually coloured and shaped to look like fruits), bolinhas (small cakes resembling coconut cookies, made coconut, sugar, semolina, egg yolks and butter), nankhatais (sugar, butter and flour combined to create a white, snowy-looking cookie), and baath (a rich coconut cake with pastry lattice work on it) among others.