The ongoing ‘Streets of India Festival’ here showcasing fashion and food festival, is a gastronome’s paradise with mind boggling 170 varieties of rasogolla and 34 flavours of fusion icecream waiting to be savoured.
The rasogollas, a signature sweet of Bengal, is available in tangy pudina and dhaniya avatars, besides paan and yummy mixed fruit and pista crush.
“We have used natural colours for 170 varieties of rosogollas with no preservatives. In keeping with the fast food tradition there are varieties like cappuccino, phuchka and green chilli. Also there are fusions like golgappa rasogolla, a fusion inspired by a popular Delhi’s fast food,” its owner Swati Saraf said.
She said in keeping with the theme of the event the sweets were given a different spin by introducing bitter and chilli tastes which became an instant hit with the visitors.
There was no dip in footfall despite the currency crunch, she claimed.
The lip-smacking fusion ice creams included the natural tender coconut flavour, caramel crunch, rose (sugar tree), south Indian coffee and kesaria rabri malai to fit the quick grab concept of street food.
“Anjeer (dry fruit) and seven varieties of paan flavoured ice creams are our signature items this festival. But yes we are a little way behind expected sales apparently due to crunch of big currencies,” a stall spokesman said.
While a lady customer was seen paying through card for her choice of lemon grass ice cream, another said she was not familiar with card or electronic wallet use and was finding it difficult to use her now demonetised Rs 1,000 currency note.
Siddharth Jaitha, speaking on behalf of the organisers said there are 45 food stalls, both street food cafeterias as well as dining places like Aminia and Hotel Sonnet at the festival serving popular quick grab food. There are 130 handicraft stalls as well and West Bengal Tourism Department has been taken on board.
On currency crisis, he said buyers are being asked to pay through cards as very few stalls are taking Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination currencies. “However, almost all the stalls have now opted for credit card machines.”
Celebrated chef and a known face in reality shows Rongon Neogi held cookery workshops in the street food zone of the festival teaching ways to rustle up ‘chatapata’ refreshments.
Sale of handicrafts are not far behind. Decorative shoe maker Sudhendra Singh from Patiala said he had brought 300 pairs of ethnic, hand-made footwear Patiala gharana. Kolkata clientele has been very receptive as always to our own Patiala gharana of shoes.
“But sales have taken a hit due to paucity of currency notes,” he said.
Ashis Biswas, an artisan from North 24 Parganas district and a participant, said a wide range of products ranging from jute bags, terracota artefacts, bamboo craft from Bankura, Odisha and other places were unsold due to the currency crunch.
In keeping with the Festival spirit simultaneous live music performance are being held. Street dance forms besides those of various provinces like garba, bhangra and Kolkata-Mumbai’s idol immersion procession dance are being held, Jaitha said.
The three-day festival ends on Sunday.