Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blast From The Past

When I tell people I grew up in the southern Maharashtrian town of Kolhapur, I am sure to either hear about their love for Kolhapuri food or be questioned about my tolerance for spiciness. Kolhapur is famous for its clear-your-sinuses spicy food, especially the Tambada and Pandhara rassa (curries made with lamb meat). As for me, I must be a disgrace to the people of Kolhapur, for not only am I a vegetarian but I prefer my food on the milder side. Good thing there is more than just spice to put Kolhapur on the map. Kolhapur is a large producer-exporter of milk and milk products, including ice-cream. The most luscious, creamy, smooth and utterly delicious ice-cream!!! And as a kid, I was convinced it was the best thing my town had to offer to the world!

Kolhapur touts a few family owned ice-cream parlors run for almost 4-5 generations now. While it's hard to pick a favorite, there won't be two opinions about who serves the best sundae. Those who've tried the 'Cocktail' at Imperial Cold Drink House will swear it's undeniably the best ice-cream sundae they've ever had. Don't be dismayed as this Cocktail has nothing to do with alcohol, but a TALL glass of this layered ice-cream sundae was no less intoxicating for me as a kid. Imperial boasts a British make ice-cream machine that has been churning some of the best ice-cream since the late 40's.

The shop was very close to the famous Mahalaxmi (or Ambabai, as the locals call it) temple in the 'town' area. Every time we drove in the direction of Imperial after visiting the temple, I wholeheartedly believed the Goddess had answered my prayers :). My grandfather was friends with the shop owner Mr. Gawali. As far as I was concerned, it was comparable to knowing the president of the country! Imagine getting an extra large scoop of ice-cream every time as a 10 year old?? Many a times, grandpa would just call up Mr. Gawali and have their special Rose ice-cream delivered in. But I really looked forward to the late night post dinner drives to the shop, ordering that special glass of Cocktail and enjoying it right in the car. Now when I think of it, it probably had to do with the crammed space in the store that we ate in the car, but I used to think it was a matter of prestige at the time. Regardless, I would forget all about that nonsense the minute I held a glass of this colorful concoction and become a kid again. I savored each bite of the tropical fruits mix like banana, chikoo, mango, orange, apple and grapes, 2 big scoops of Rose ice-cream(that's what I always got), big chunks of wiggly jelly and bits of tutti-frutti (candied fruits). All this goodness was topped with my favorite wafer biscuits. It was everything a kid could ask for! Perfect with all the wonderful flavors, textures and colors. If you ask me, it was no less than a piece of art - and a darn tasty one at that!

On a sweltering hot day like the one we had on Sunday, I couldn't stop craving a yummy Cocktail. Luckily, the local Indian store carries just the perfect ice-cream flavor to make this sundae and I decided to indulge in an extra large glass to cool off. Just like the old days, I was struggling to finish the last bits of the sundae when hubby squeaky cleaned his glass and asked sheepishly, "Can I have some more?". The Cocktail surely brings out the child in you!

Look at those gorgeous colors!
Imperial Cocktail Sundae

Mixed fruits - banana, apple, mango, grapes, oranges, chikoo(if you can find it)
Tutti-Frutti ice-cream - I chose it for the gorgeous color, authentic Indian taste and of course, the confections
Jelly - you can pick your favorite colors/flavors. I went for orange.
Mango puree
Wafer biscuits

To assemble:
  • Fill a glass 1/4th with chopped mixed fruits. 
  • Add two large scoops of ice-cream. You can pick any mild flavor like vanilla, rose, strawberry etc. if not tutti-frutti.
  • Top it off with some cubes of jelly. As you can tell, I was too impatient to wait till my jelly was set! If you have more patience, your jelly won't start sinking to the bottom. 
  • Add a little more ice-cream on top. And because you can never have enough mango, add some mango puree to finish it. 
  • Stick a couple of wafer biscuits on the top. 
Take a large dessert spoon and dig in!


Vatsala. said...

Liked the colourful dessert.
Invitation for a potluck
Event - FSF Janmashtami and Ganesh Chturthi

Priyanka said...

Ahh..I miss Imperial!! Your version looks delish! Thank you for bringling up the memory.

Sneh | Cook Republic said...

This is gorgeous!! I am on such an icy treat kick recently, this would definitely sate some of those cravings of mine. Sometimes I can't believe I grew up in Mumbai and missed out on all the yumminess! Thanks for sharing!

Snehal said...

@Vatsala: Thanks. I'll be submitting my entry for the potluck :)
@Priyanka: Nothing like the ice-cream from Imperial!
@Sneh: Thanks. Give this a try :)


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