Palmyra ice-cream and sweets, anyone?

You’ve tasted coconut, mango and watermelon ice-cream to beat the heat. Now, there’s a unique ice-cream that’s sure to appeal to all those with a soft corner for ice-creams and sweets.

An organisation in West Bengal’s Bankura district is preparing to bring palmyra ice-cream and syrups to the Kolkata market this summer.

Workers from Bengal’s Bankura, Purulia and Birhum districts are trying to make these products available in Kolkata this summer. Along with ice-creams and syrups, the organisation is also into manufacturing sweets from this delicious fruit.

The initiative of a nongovernment organisation, Development Research Communication and Service Centre (DRCSC), has created new employment opportunities for many people in these three districts. According DRCSC’s Deepak Ghosh, the maximum number of palmyra trees in West Bengal is found in these three districts, and hence this area was selected for the project.

According to a former officer of the Khadi Gramin Shilpa Parshad, a state government undertaking, the season of picking up the full-grown palmyra fruits is between March and June, and in order to deliver tasty palmyra ice-cream, syrup and other palmyra-based food and beverages, it is important to select the trees judiciously.

Ghosh says that during the primary selection process, if twenty trees are selected, only seven to eight trees can provide good amount of palmyra juice. Syrup, jaggery and the other food products are made from the extracted juice.

Demand for palmyra-based food products is increasing because they are organic. DRCSC is getting orders from several organisations in Kolkata to deliver them the palmyra syrup from which they would manufacture ice-cream. It is already available in several south Bengal districts now. DRCSC authorities say the reason behind the success is the nutrient content in the product. People are health conscious these days and they know it is much better to drink organic juices rather than aerated soft drinks.

The sweet manufacturers in Kolkata too have shown interest in palmyra-based sweets. Bankura district celebrates palmyra festival every year in September. For the past few months, the products were available in limited quantity, now it is time to go for large scale production, feels DRCSC officials.

It may be a matter of time before the inimitable taal becomes a regular for the food loving Bengalis’ diet in this unique form.

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