Know Your City: Mastani, a cold Pune beverage that’s an ode to Peshwa Bajirao’s beloved

For 14-year-old Abhiram Joshi, summer evenings mean many hours of fun and play with his friends. With pocket money in his hands, the day ends with tall, cold glasses of mango mastani, at the nearest Sujata Mastani store. “Mastani is my favorite drink that I can have at any time of the year. But the craving that one feels especially after a hot summer day to have a cup of ice cream on cold milk to quench the heat is a special feeling.”

Back in the tropical summers of the late 1920s, the cold brew of Gujar created by Baburao Gujar in 1923 by Baburao Gujar was frequented by locals in the narrow lanes of Budhwar Peth where they served soft drinks and sherbet water (a mixture of sweet-flavored syrup and water). ). Two decades later, they presented Pune with a staple new summer drink and then called it a “doodle (milk) cold drink,” writes Sahapedia, a Pune cultural mapping project.

By the late 1940s, “cold worms” were found in small shops and stalls in the Old Town. The ingredients included cold raw milk, rose and pineapple, or wicker syrup served chilled over ice for patrons. Cold Worm Drink was a seasonal business, which started in mid-March through early June, and quickly became a favorite among customers during the summer.

“Summer in Pune at those times called for something cold, and ice cream could only be provided by franchisees. For the common people, ‘cold worms’ was easy in the pocket… Milk was found locally and so was the drink, and from Then it was reasonable for people, but ice cream required a lot of machinery and equipment hence it was a little expensive, said Sachin Kundalkar, owner of the city’s beloved Sujata Mastani.

Scoops of ice cream became part of Dodd’s cold drink in the late 1960s, and soon many shops sprang up in the Old Town. After juices were made locally, ice cream, traditionally made in wooden utensils, began to be manufactured. The flavors of the ice cream – mango, caesar (saffron) and rose – were in keeping with local tastes.

Randhir Jaya Naidu, founder of Pune Heritage Walks, a cultural community, said people loved the drink so much that they were chanting “sari” in Marathi which loosely translates to gorgeous. “Pune is also home to the story of Peshwa Bajirao I and his beloved Mastani. The beauty of Mastani was unparalleled as the stories tell us, and the drink is a sight to be seen like Mastani, hence the drink was baptized by Pune residents,” Naidu said.

Sujata Mastani (Source: Sahapedia)

Kundalkar added that the name is the romanticization of rose mastani with mango ice cream by the people of Pune. He said, “When the mango starts to dissolve in milk with a rose flavor, people say it’s like a mastani’s beauty and tender nature when you eat paan…I guess, how people wanted to describe a mastani drink.”

Many local players with the exception of Gujar, such as Kawre Ice Cream, Ganu Shinde Ice Cream and Buwa Ice Cream have satisfied the demand for Mastani by offering their very own versions of the city’s original drink. Over the past eight decades, their collective efforts have seen the drink evolve from its humble beginnings.

“Versions of the drink can be found elsewhere and may have different names, but Mastani was and is for Pune. Falooda, in this sense, is similar to Iranian Mastani, while a sundae from the United States is Mastani without the milk,” Naidu said. .

Sharad Raoji Kondhalkar, Kondhalkar’s father, instead of taking over the family business of a pan shop (a betel leaf delicacy) in the heart of the city in Sadashiv Peth, decided to venture into ice cream making and set up a shop called Sujata in 1967, Sahapedia writes.

After changing the original recipe, Sujata Mastani improved its flavors and taste, attracting more visits. Sharad Rawji Kundalkar defrosted the original Dood’s Cold Drink, because when it melted it made the drink watery and diluted the flavors. He began to boil the raw milk, thicken it, let it cool, and then began adding flavored ice cream to it.

“When served, the flavored milk was covered in the same flavor of our homemade ice cream. This way, by the time the person finished eating the ice cream, the milk would have absorbed the taste and flavor of the ice cream… Since there were limited refrigeration options at the time, the mastani was made in discretionary quantities to be sold out by the end of the day. “I remember my dad often saying they should sell all the produce for the day and eat leftovers for dinner,” Kundalkar said.

Sujata Mastani started with three basic Mastani flavors: rose, wicker, and pineapple. Soon they began to combine seasonal fruits with mango being the highlight of summer, strawberry and winter. Today, across about 35 outlets in the region, Sujata Mastani has a menu of 19 flavors and is undoubtedly a household name.

“Around the early 1980s, canned mango pulp became available and the flavor could be put on the shelf. Customers’ tastes also evolved with typical ice cream flavors such as kaiser, pistachio, vanilla, butter, fruit, and chocolate become flavors for mastani as well. Custard apple (cetafal) has also gained popularity in the past decade or so. Towards that,” Kundalkar added.

Once a drink associated with the summer of Pune, technological advances meant that Mastani is now available year-round. However, the rich and smooth summer drinks are mixed with the charm and memories of the old days of Pune. “People, especially the old city residents, are nostalgic and passionate about things that grew up in the city and are therefore very fond of it. “If anyone had more people, they would make a point to get Mastani,” Naidu said.

“Mastani is something that one now associates with happiness, to celebrate happy occasions, especially during the season of festivals and weddings. It is a popular Poona drink, which they invented, appreciated and loved,” Kundalkar added.

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