Hey folks!

It’s the last day of the financial year and probably the most dreaded day for bank employees stuck at work today. If you’re one of them, we feel you!

And we’ve got something that may make you feel better. TasteAtlas has shared its list of the world’s best cheese desserts and guess who has made it to the list?

Rasmalai!

This creamy chhena (cheese made from fresh milk) dessert is crowned the world’s second best after Poland’s Sernik (Polish cheesecake). And it also has some great tales to tell.

Apparently, a Bengali scientist Sarada Charan Das, who was also confectioner K. C. Das’ son was experimenting with giving rasgullas (another chhena dessert) a longer shelf life. That’s how canned rasgullas came about, helping K. C. Das sell rasgullas across India and even globally. In the process, the confectioners also succeeded in creating a new dessert, rasmalai.

But here’s a twist to the story. Bangladesh’s Sen Brothers also lay claims on the rasmalai. It seems that back in the day, people in undivided Bengal would relish rasgullas by soaking them in thickened milk. They called it Kheer Bhog. And with Bengal’s partition, the dessert got a different name in India. But the Sen Brothers popularised and commercialised the dessert in Bangladesh, even taking credit for its creation. They even seem to have applied for a GI (Geographical Indication) tag ― an official mark on products that have a specific geographical origin. Now, we don’t know if they’ll succeed.

But anyway, whether you’re having a bad day, a tiring day or even a great one, treat yourself to some rasmalai. Because its burst of flavours can elevate anyone’s mood, don’t you think?

Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵

Rasmalai by Yashraj Mukhate

We hope you didn’t get too carried away with the rasmalai appreciation song because it’s time to snap out of rasmalai land and dive into the Sunny Side up!

A couple of things caught our eye this week 👀

Amul milk flies to the US, but does it have takers?

Amul’s fresh milk cartons will sit on some US market shelves starting this week. And this could be a part of the strategy to take the Amul Group’s sales to ₹1 lakh crore by 2026.

But will this move help the world’s eighth largest dairy organisation achieve its goal?

See, in FY23, Amul’s sales were pegged at ₹72,000 crores. And since milk costs aren’t set to rise any time soon, supplies seem to be great. That could be Amul’s carpe diem moment to push sales beyond Indian borders. Exports already make up for about 2% of its total sales. And another nudge in the right direction could actually give the brand a good sales leap.

But here’s the thing. The US may not be the best market for Amul. Courtesy, falling milk consumption. Since the 2000s, fluid milk consumption has been dropping by 1% every year. And that rate has more than doubled since the 2010s.

Now we can’t really tell why Americans seem to hate drinking milk. But you could attribute some of it to replacing milk with juices, other milk products like cheese and even plant-based milk.

And you know what happens when demand falls, right? Prices naturally go down. In 2023, milk prices in the US fell by 1% as opposed to a 3% rise in food prices.

Besides, this isn’t Amul milk’s first tryst with the US market. A decade ago, its then MD R S Sodhi had planned to sell liquid milk in the country. But it didn’t seem to take off. Maybe dropping milk consumption was to blame? We don’t know.

But yeah, the US could be a tough market for Amul. Then why the heck is it even interested in selling milk there, you ask?

Well, actually Amercians aren’t Amul’s target market. It instead wants to capitalise on the growing Asian and Indian population living there. Because you see, Asians make up for about 7% of the US population right now and Indians are the second largest ethnic group of the lot. That may give Amul some pricing power because even though that’s a small subset, Indians living in the US could be willing to pay a premium for something they’ve grown up eating.

Smart move or not? Only time will tell.

***

Maple syrup reserves on the decline

Canada’s maple syrup reserve seems to be in danger. The reserve has hit a 16-year low and is now 7% lower than what it was four years ago. And that could be bad news for pancake enthusiasts.

See, Canada’s maple syrup industry accounts for three fourths of the world's entire maple syrup production. And Québec contributes to nearly 90% of it. That means that production and supply has to be organised in such a way they never run out of the sticky golden liquid.

So way back in 1966, they formed a professional union called Québec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP) Organization to professionalise maple syrup tapping. In the process, they also created the world’s only maple syrup reserve. That way they could store any excess syrup they produced during the good years in sealed barrels. It would take care of adequate supply even if bad weather hindered production.

But this reserve itself has been dwindling since 2008, thanks to climate change. Maple syrup requires the right balance between the cold warm temperatures to remain in adequate supply. But in 2021 and 2023, spring temperatures were warmer leading to a production drop. And if that continues, the reserves may not be able to keep up with the demand.

Québec has been trying to push maple syrup as a healthier alternative to sweetener, mainly across the US, UK, Germany, Australia and Japan. But continued low production could throw a spanner in the works.

Quite a sticky situation for Québec, eh?

Infographic 📊

This didn’t make the cut ✂️

The US DoJ wants credit for Apple’s success?

On Wednesday, we told you why the US Department of Justice was suing Apple. It was questioning the monopoly created by the Apple ecosystem.

But it also decided to sprinkle some masala.

It wants us to know that Apple should first send them a “thank you” note. And that the iPod and the iPhone probably wouldn’t have existed if the government hadn’t sued Microsoft in the first place.

See, in the 1990s, Microsoft was dominating the Operating System game with Windows. And it didn’t want to allow third-party companies to build specialised software. It wanted to do everything on its own. For instance, it had its own music player called Windows Media Player. And it was building a walled garden.

But by the time Apple launched its music app called iTunes and subsequently the iPod, the DOJ had stepped in and told Microsoft to allow other apps on its platform. So Apple could build a cross-platform app and nudge Windows users to buy its music player.

And the DOJ says that’s the only reason the iPod found widespread success. Eventually, that success paved the way for the iPhone too.

Do you think that could be true?

Readers Recommend 🗒️

Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman

This week our reader and good ol’ friend Siva Ramakrisna is back with a recommendation after a year long break. Yes, we remember your past recommendation!

Anyway, he writes “This is a book of short stories written by Alan Lightman, an MIT physics professor. Each chapter is like stepping into a different universe where time doesn't play by the rules we know. Imagine time elongating, flowing backward, or even stopping altogether! It's like reading a bunch of cool sci-fi stories that mess with the brain in the best way possible. But beyond the wild scenarios, it gets one thinking about the deep stuff, like how we experience time and what it means to be alive. Even if one's not into science, this book will make one see time in a whole new perspective.

Did that description make you want to go grab the book, folks? We hope it did. Thanks for such an interesting rec Siva! Keep’em coming.

Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩

It’s time to announce the winner of our previous weekly quiz. And the winner is…🥁

Nitin Jagdale! Congratulations. Keep an eye on your inbox and we’ll get in touch with you soon to send over your Finshots merch.

Anyway, that’s it from us this week. Don’t forget to tell us what you thought of today’s newsletter. And send us your book, music, business movies, documentaries or podcast recommendations. We’ll feature them in the upcoming editions! Just hit reply to this email (or if you’re reading this on the web, drop us a message: morning@finshots.in).

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