The monsoons are here, and it is cooler, yet Srikanta Taparia continues to be flooded with demands for her sharbats. While home-made sharbats are no novelty, her flavours are. The usual suspects include orange, pineapple, aam panna, kesar, rose, badam, thandai and badam-kesar. The off-beat ones are mogra, chandan, jamun, juhi, phalsa, lemon ice tea and cold coffee. Taparia uses fruits, flowers and spices to revive old flavours and create new ones.
Thanda thanda cool cool
The speciality of her sharbats is the absence of colour or preservative that bring in a synthetic taste. These sharbats also have ingredients with therapeutic value. The jamun sharbat is good for diabetics, the variyali or saunf for indigestion and chandan cools the body. However, much depends on the availability, quality and price of the raw ingredients. She laments on the quality of juhi flowers, rues the unavailability of chandan and sighs over the high prices of phalsa.
Dadi ma ke nuskhe
Taparia prepares her sharbats using her grandmother’s recipes. She says, “I grew up in Kolkata where humidity levels are high. So sharbats are always welcome.” Taparia has been making sharbats for almost 35 years. But it was only six to seven years ago that she started taking orders. Though she employs help, she insists on concocting the sharbats herself. She says, “It’s my hand that makes all the difference. Also, while making sharbats it’s important to get the proportions right.” A bottle of fruit or flower- flavoured sharbat is priced between Rs 110 and Rs 140. The ones with badam, kesar, chandan are priced slightly higher.
(Srikanta Taparia may be contacted at 9819592278)