Navroz, the Parsi New Year coming up on 16 August, is not just about good thoughts, good words and good deeds—but also a bellyful of good food. And while dhansak, farcha and lagan nu custard might be reason enough to say jamva chalo ji (let’s go for lunch/dinner), the whole meal is a symphony brought together by a clutch of iconic products.
The distinct flavours of Parsi cuisine have been spurred on by the community’s entrepreneurial spirit and love for the trio of sweet, spicy and sour flavours. From creamy kulfi to a sweet and fizzy raspberry soda; from an iconic grocery store to a special sugarcane vinegar from Gujarat, these are the food brands that have garnered a fan following beyond Parsi households. Here is a look at these century-old Parsi food brands that have endured the test of time:
The vinegar brewers: Kolah’s Vinegar
Mind you, this is no everyday souring agent or a synthetically produced vinegar. The specific balance of sweet, sour and umami is what makes Kolah vinegar that coveted “secret” ingredient in Parsi kitchens. From patra ni macchi to signature masalas, Kolah vinegar brings that je ne sais quoi that makes Parsis travel far and wide in search of their monthly supplies. The brand which started off making sugarcane vinegar in Navsari, Gujarat in 1885 by Edalji Kolah, has since grown and now manufactures masalas, pickles and ice cream. The products still make their way to cities like Mumbai and Pune from Navsari and even though the mandate is a 48-hour advance order, Kolah vinegar continues to hold its sway.