This Mail-Order Sweets Box Will Bring Diwali Home to You — And It’s $20 Off Right Now

updated Nov 4, 2020
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Credit: Malai

When I was growing up in India, Diwali was one of my favorite festivals of the year. For that one week leading up to Diwali, the night sky is lit up with sparkling firecrackers, windows are dressed with shiny string lights, intricate rangolis and hand-lit diyas adorn front doors, calendars are packed with back-to-back card parties, and you have the excuse to put on your shiniest clothes and fanciest jewelry and pretend you’re a Bollywood celebrity.

My favorite part about Diwali? The festive piles of colorful, ghee-laden mithais (sweets) that are usually only made once a year. My love for Diwali sweets is so strong that, now that I’m grown, my mom still sends me a care package (all the way from Mumbai to New York), filled with boxes of traditional sweets rolled in snowy shreds of coconuts or pressed with dry fruits, and covered in shimmering silver foil.

Needless to say, this year Diwali is going to look a little different. India has one of the highest numbers of coronavirus cases in the world right now, and it’s close to impossible to send packages between countries, let alone ones packed with food. A Diwali without sweets? Picture Christmas without cookies. (Exactly. You can’t.)

Luckily, I discovered that Brooklyn-based ice cream shop Malai‘s Diwali Ice Cream Celebration Box, available for nationwide shipping via Goldbelly. (As someone who’s queued up a number of times outside their shop for a scoop of their rose with cinnamon roasted almonds, I knew I had to get my hands on it!) Founded by Indian American Pooja Bavishi, Malai is known for its line of ice creams inspired by Indian spices. This box was bound to be good!

Here’s what was inside the Diwali Ice Cream Celebration Box:

If you’ve ever been inside an Indian grocery store in the United States, you might have spotted an entire section devoted to brown packets of Parle-G, a household biscuit in India that’s best enjoyed with a cup of hot chai. But in Malai’s Diwali box? The biscuits surround a ginger-heavy masala chai ice cream.

Fat, juicy gulab jamuns usually served in saccharine sweet sugar syrup have been reimagined as saffron syrup-soaked cakes sandwiching rose with cinnamon roasted ice cream. And traditional pumpkin-orange carrot halwa is transformed into an ice cream flavor packed between two milky carrot and cardamom cakes.

Credit: Malai

The box also includes a pint of shiny ghugura ice cream that’s, hands-down, the star of the show. Karanjis or ghugura are essentially hand pies filled with a sweet ricotta-like filling mixed with coconut and nuts, and deep-fried in pure ghee. Similar to cookie dough ice cream, bits of ghugura are hidden in the ghee-laced ice cream. Every bite is a surprise — you either get a sweet bite of ghugura, or chunks of nutty dry fruits.

How to Order Your Diwali Celebration Box

These boxes are only available to order online until November 8. (Meaning: Hurry up!) Malai has been delivering ice cream online for a long time, so you can rest assured that your sweet treats will be intact when you open the box. Right now, you can score an additional $20 off with code GOLDB3LLY during checkout. If you live in Brooklyn you can reserve your box online for pickup at their scoop shop on or anytime until November 14.

Did this replace my annual care package of traditional sweets? I hope my mom’s not reading this … but yes! Digging into this carefully conceptualized Diwali box evoked a strong sense of nostalgia for my home country, while the contemporary interpretation of traditional flavors felt almost poetic as I enjoyed them in my new adopted homeland.