Ice creams always bring fond memories, be it those late night binges with my bestie in Pune or make sad-puppy-dog-eyes at the husband so he’ll drive me to corner house here in Bangalore just before their closing time or simply digging into the freezer and pulling out that tub of store bought ice cream.
Today, let’s meet Shantala, who’s going to thrill you all (adults and kids alike) with her home made ice creams and more!
Q: A little background?
A: I’m born & brought up in Coorg and went to boarding school is Bangalore when I was 12 and studied in Bangalore since. After I finished college, I spent time pursuing my passions, cooking, studying Advanced embroidery & Garment Technology and learning & practising yoga in Mysore. Post which I took up a Corporate job in Bangalore. 8 years ago I gave it up to pursue yoga full time and have been certified as a Yoga Acharya since.
Q: How did Old Mercara happen?
A: A nostalgic trip down memory lane is what ” Old Mercara ” is all about. Once I got married & moved to Chennai, whenever someone would give me fruits from their farm, I would make homemade ice cream and send it back. All the products I am marketing is everything I have served and gifted my friends in Chennai all these years. My husband has a sweet tooth and we entertain a lot, Chennai being hot, I have always had squashes from Coorg, a batch of fresh ice cream in my freezer & Fig Compote in my fridge. Friends who have had them always told me that I should market it but I never took them seriously until one friend simply didn’t take no for an answer, it’s the same friend who came up with the name Old Mercara. It was perfect – Mercara is the capital of Coorg, where I grew up and it just seemed to embody and fit everything that my brand stood for.
Q: What do you specialize in?
A: Home made Ice creams – Made fresh to order & does not contain artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. We have 16 flavours as of now. We also have peanut butter made with Organic brown sugar, Fig compote, Pandhi Curry (Coorg Pork curry) & Paaputtu ( rice cakes with grated coconut).
Q: What do you plan to bring to the bake sale?
A: There is still many a home in Coorg where elegant ladies serve tea in dainty China with lacy napkins & morsels of exquisite tasting cakes, tarts etc. and their larder full of seasonal fruits made into Preserves, Jams, Wines & Chutneys.
I hope to bring to you the wholesome goodness of their pantry, bottled & pickled with care and pride from their orchards and their skills. It is this that I offer – the fragrance of brewed coffee ,the syrupy goodness of honey, toasted bread with peanut butter ,an assortment of jams and jellies. I could go on and on – some of these will graze your table, bringing you the genuine goodness and warmth that food prepared with care and love should do.
* Coffee- Grown under the shade of stately trees in Coorg ,hand-picked and dried – each bean trapping the warmth and goodness of the sun. This pack contains a combination of two dominant varieties of coffee -the delicate flavoursome Arabica and the robust Robusta to give the brew strength. Each cup brings to you the best of Coorg’s coffee estates, which help to protect the biodiversity of the Western Ghats
* Pepper Ungarbled Pepper or piper nigrum sourced from climbing vines of south Coorg is undeniably the best.
* Jams. Jelly Squashes – The Fruit Jams, Jellies, Preserves are not made from commercial Orchards but from random fruit trees that are planted around our bungalows. Hence they are not treated with artificial manure and pesticides associated with large scale agriculture. The Guavas, Leeches, Mangoes, Chicoos & Mulberries are harvested competing with birds, squirrels & bats. So these products have a unique taste of fruits ripening in the sun and on the branch. Picked with care, handled with delight and prepared with love. They are indeed wholesome unlike factory made products that declare “untouched by Hand” . Types of squashes – Passion Fruit, Ginger lime, Grape Fruit, Bitter Lime. Jams – Mulberry, Cape Gooseberry, Guava, and Orange Marmalade.
|Pic: Ashima Shenoy
|Pic: Ashima Shenoy
Meet the yoga guru and binge on some yummy home made ice creams at Stall #3, at the Grand Annual Bake Sale, Spaces, #1, Elliots Beach Road, on the 24th Jan.
All the best!