Food

How about some halwa?

Authentic Tirunelveli halwa. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Of all the things one expects to receive in the mail, a packet of ghee-soaked goodness hardly figures in the list. But thanks to halwakadai.com, it’s getting there.

The way Halwakadai caters to its 72,000 customers is simple. Place an order on the website and the team, located in Tirunelveli, moves swiftly to make sure that the halwa is packed and ready to be dispatched. And in 24 hours or less, a packet of fresh, homemade, authentic Tirunelveli halwa is yours to indulge in.

Even though it’s not the most traditional product found in the virtual world, founder Moses Dharmabalan was convinced about his product’s appeal. “Every time I’d return to college after a holiday, my friends in Chennai would beg me to bring back halwa from my hometown Tirunelveli. It dawned on me that it was more popular than I’d imagined.” The team, which started off with six students from Tirunelveli, first experimented with the product by setting up a stall at a campus bazaar. “The demand was huge,” he says, “We won first prize, and it was then that we knew that taking this to the next level would be a good idea.”

A former employee of Google, Moses was well-versed with the Internet before he quit his job to start this venture. “We decided to launch our site here in Chennai, and import the halwa straight from Tirunelveli.”

Halwakadai specialises in what Moses calls “wheat ghee halwa”, a product that can only be made in his hometown, because of the Thamirabarani River. “The water is important for the halwa to taste the way it does,” he says, “If you make it in the city, it’ll lose its traditional taste.”

Everyday, the halwa is made in Tirunelveli by Arnachalam, whose family has been in the business for over forty years. From there, hundreds of kilos of halwa arrive in Chennai every morning, ready to be shipped across India. “We’re focusing on keeping it national right now,” says Moses, adding that there have also been instances where they have shipped to customers in the United States, Malaysia and Singapore.

The requests pour in steadily and the team finds themselves shipping around 300 kgs of halwa a day. And the customers are not just limited to individuals and families, but extend to corporate clients as well.

It’s going to be a year since they launched this novel website, and they have plans of expanding to supply more varieties of halwa, and increase the quantity delivered each day. It’s ambitious, but the positive feedback from customers keeps him fuelled.

“We’re focused and dedicated to making a single product, and it’s worked well for us,” says Moses.


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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 12:54:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Food/how-about-some-authentic-tirunelveli-halwa-treat/article7231534.ece

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