What better way to ease up on your tummy post the festive season than with some truly exotic and healthy beverages? Take your pick from nearly a century-old secret ‘sherbet’ recipe, fruit and herb infused yoghurt drinks (lassis) or concoctions of the cup that cheers – tea.
With the overwhelming variety of the sweet and savoury that Kolkata has to offer, thanks to the varied communities based here, foodies find it difficult to resist gourmet temptations, particularly during Durga Puja and Diwali. The hectic meet-and-greet schedule and rituals add to the woes.
But in nooks and corners of the busting metropolis, there are places where health-conscious foodies can stop over for some detoxifying and energizing refills, till the next holiday season (Christmas and New Year) and
A stone’s throw away from north Kolkata’s College Street (home to book shops and two prestigious universities), tucked away in a hidey-hole is the 96-year-old Paramount juice and sherbet centre, famed for its ‘daab sherbet’ or green coconut sherbet (a cold drink usually made with diluted fruit juices).
The sherbet – a mix of raw coconut water, its tender sweet pulp and an essence – is a creation of renowned chemist Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray.
“The shop used to be the hideout of freedom fighters and selling sherbets used to be a front. Nihar Ranjan Majumdar, who was a freedom fighter and a friend of Ray, set this shop up with him.
“The green coconut essence used in the sherbet is a secret and the drink we serve has remain unchanged. The coconuts are specially sourced from Basirhat in North 24-Parganas,” Partha Majumdar, Nihar Ranjan’s grandson and shop manager, told IANS.
Majumdar said the drink is devoid of any synthetic product or extract and is a powerhouse of daab or green coconut’s benefits, which among others include
boosting immunity, enhancing kidney function, replenishing electrolytes and cooling down the digestive system.
“It is very popular among youngsters, most of whom are health conscious nowadays,” Majumdar added.
Looking for something on the lines of smoothies and shakes albeit with an Indian touch?
Try the peppery Kadak Pudina Mirch ki Lassi (mint, green chillies with yoghurt) or the imaginative Mango Aur Tulsi ki Lassi (green mango, cumin and basil with yoghurt) at Funjabi Tadka, a specialty restaurant. There’s also a Pina Colada Lassi, laced with pineapple and coconut.
“Lassis are traditionally known for aiding the digestive system due to the presence of yoghurt. The added ingredients help in adding fibre and enhancing digestion,” restaurant manager Santosh told IANS.
So, go high on the ‘Puritea Twist’ section at The Tea Trove (TTT) in south Kolkata.
Popular for its repertoire of tea-based beverages, both hot and cold, the joint, with its eclectic décor and emphasis on ‘Tea Commandments’ (verses like ‘Thou Shall Understand the Four Different Types of Tea – White, Green, Oolong and Black’), makes a conscious effort to promote the goodness of tea.
Light in texture, the ‘Puritea Twist’ infusions of herb and flower-based green and black teas are also refreshing for the palate.
“The Moroccan Mint green tea and Basil Mint tea are rich in anti-oxidants and the mint acts as a mouth freshener. The texture is light. Green tea can counter the effects of an oily and heavy meal.
“The Red Hibiscus black tea uses freeze-dried hibiscus and, therefore, eliminates the need for preservatives. In addition, we also provide the option of natural sweetener, Stevia, extracted from the Stevia plant,” TTT
owner Shruti Kanoi told IANS.