Skip to content

Sweets signal the Diwali holiday

By Tom Hanchett
Nikunj---Kaju-phool-&-candlesHalloween isn’t the only candy-licious holiday this week.  Sunday marks the start of the Hindu celebration called Diwali.  And the sweets shelves are piled high at Patel Brothers in Pineville.

If you haven’t been to Patel Brothers, in the Centrum shopping cluster opposite Carolina Place Mall, this is a fun time of the year to explore. The store’s motto is “Celebrating Our Food … Our Culture.”  As Diwali approaches, Patel Brothers can feel like the busiest place in Charlotte.

For people from India, Diwali is the beginning of the New Year.  But it’s also a bit like American Thanksgiving — lots of family visiting, lots of traditional cooking, says store manager Nikunj Patel.  “People go to each other’s house to celebrate, light candles.”

Sweets are almost the first thing you see when you walk in the store, arrayed in an open-front chilled case not far from a display of little clay-pot candles.

Bright colors abound.  Hot pinks, yellows and greens signal Diwali in much the way that orange heralds Halloween. For instance there are little yellow spheres of sweet fried dough called boondi — fun to say — with the same grab-a-handful appeal as M & Ms.

Many Diwali sweets make use of cashews.  Spelled kaju in the Hindi language, the nuts have been a favorite in India ever since Portuguese traders brought them from their native Brazil in the 1500s.

Look for cashew burfi, sweet cakes made with cashew nut powder.  Or try kaju cutlet — colorful doughs and cashews, all encased in a sugary exterior.  Slice across it (ie make it into a cutlet) and the interior is exposed like a miniature treasure chest.

What’s Patel’s personal favorite?  “Kaju katli, that’s most popular with nearly everybody,” he chuckles. “Cashews and sugar – that’s it.”

Patel Brothers
Monday – Sunday  10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

10701 Centrum Parkway,
Pineville, NC  28134
(704) 540 – 2013

Center City & nearby
Carolina apple cider
Indian street food
Greens from South Carolina
Upstate NY Italian sausage
Swiss-German bakery
Blackberry memories of Brooklyn
Puerto Rican kabobs
South Boulevard, South Tryon & southward
Mexico + Greece = holiday treats
Cuban box pig
Snack foods from India
SC meets Vietnam
Little corner of El Salvador
Arepas from Venezuela
Indian sweets for Diwali
Colombian soup
Korean at China Wing
Indian food in south Charlotte
Mexican take-out
Mexican Tamaleria
Fort Mill — real Chinese
Ready for Laotian food in Charlotte?
Psst! There’s a European Market hidden just south of Ballantyne
Independence Boulevard, Monroe Road & environs
Nigeria in east Charlotte
Korean BBQ
Brazilian bakery
Secret Greek grocery
Colombian BBQ & snacks
Detroit hot dogs
New York bagels
Halal Latino
Russian-Turkish Grocery
Iran Kabobs in Matthews
Ramen in Matthews
Russian picnic fare
Armenia in Matthews
Katayef – holiday dessert at Pita Kabab in Matthews
Crispy NJ pizza comes to east Charlotte
Central Av, Albemarle Road & vicinity
Family-style Ethiopian
Dominican street food
Jamaican black cake
Somali stew and sides
Schawarma from Jerusalem
Oriental buns
Greek pastries
Bosnian sausages
‘Tis the Season for Champurrado
Latino bakery feeds a region
Taste Monterrey, Mexico
Tamales in Plaza Midwood
One restaurant, three Latino traditions
Guatamala in east Charlotte
Mexican Seafood
You buy – We fry
Dominican Deli
French/Vietnamese pastry arrives in east Charlotte

North Tryon, UNCC area & northward
Asian Moon Cakes
Mexican carnitas
Beef on Weck from Buffalo
Dominican fruit shakes, pressed subs
Mexican ice cream
Louisiana Viet crawfish
Salvadoran comfort food
NYC pastries – Lake Norman
Vegetarian eats from south India
Indian Dosa Night
Middle East via Lynx
Bahn Mi Brothers
Ethiopian sandwiches
Turkish near UNCC
BBQ from Pakistan
Find a taste of Hyderabad at Nawabs Kebabs
The Patio at Our Lady of Guadalupe
NC fish camps
Fried baloney
Grits & cornmeal
El Tamarindo
Laos in Kings Mountain
Lawrence Caribbean
Multiple Places & Food Trucks
5 eateries for Black History Month
Charlotte’s International food scene
South’s Love Affair with Soft Drinks
5 Places to “Eat Northern”
Northern Favorites: Six More Eateries
Curry journey: Vietnam, Trinidad, India
Spiedies – Food Truck
5 best bites on Albemarle Road
Lao Sausages – Food Truck
Western Indian – Food Truck
Himalayan flavors – Food Truck
Shaved ice goes global in Charlotte