Save some space for dessert as Mumbai’s famous Parsi Dairy kulfis are now in the city.
You just need a lick to get started. And miracles of milky miracles, they are now available at select outlets in the city. I had my first ‘imported’ Parsi Dairy kulfi at Nuts n Spices. The round disc of pale milk solids come in a range of flavours. Three circles of the same flavour cost around Rs 200 per pack. Let us limit ourselves to the classic flavours — malai kulfi, saffron pista kulfi and mango kulfi — and claim that these are the best. The discs have to be cut in exact segments like a wheel and each triangle of the wheel has to be carefully licked to allow the frozen segment to melt on the tongue before the whole disc melts into a pool of sweet liquid.
To Mumbaikars, Parsi Dairy kulfis are the stuff of which memories are made. The Parsi Dairy itself on Princess Street is an institution. It began in 1916, when the Parsi entrepreneur Nariman Ardeshir opened its doors to provide fresh milk, cream, set curd and all the milk-based fudge-like sweets, rolled or stamped into various shapes. It must be kept in mind that making use of the ice that was originally imported in ships from North America was very much a Parsi initiative. You had to be rich and sophisticated enough to be able to carry off a triple Cassata or a Bombe. Of course, this is not to say that the milkmen of Uttar Pradesh did not have their own methods of creating kulfis in terracotta moulds and selling them in baskets at street corners or at Chowpathy.
Parsi Dairy’s distinction was that they provided pasteurised milk. As their logo of a white buffalo also indicates, they used buffalo milk. The milk for kulfis is thickened by heating and flavoured before it is cooled in cylinders to be sliced in those circular shapes. There are no thickening agents, or additives. Unlike ice-cream, the kulfi is not churned, shaken, or stirred. There was a public outcry when it was rumored last year that the Parsi Dairy was about to close. Eating Parsi Dairy kulfis now is as good as keeping a tradition alive!
— Geeta Doctor