Love for food: Feast your Holi cravings

That slight warmth around, trees getting decked up in color and chirping of birds - it's officially the end of winter and time to celebrate spring with the festival of colours.

When talking about Holi, food and bhang sherbet is one the interesting and essential components . While, in every Bengali household,

mutton curry and rice is the staple followed by rasogollas, non-Bengali vegetarian households celebrate the festival with food and a lot of sweets like gujiya, ras malai, puran poli among otehrs.

Bhang sherbet, also known as thandai is the common connection in between Indian communities. Derived from the Arabic word Shariba, sherbet means 'to drink'. Even it has a mention in the famous fable 'A thousand and One Nights'.

In Indian mythology, Sharbet got a mention in the Gobinda Lilamrata and Mahabharata. Interestingly, the Ottoman Turks drank sherbet before every course in their meal. In India, sherbet was introduced by Emperor Babur.

Sharbet has its own charm when mixed with bhang, another interesting component to add more colours in your holi. When mixed together it elevate to a

different level. Bhang is said to be the favourite drink of lord Shiva. We can find its mention in the ancient texts.

Another drinking component is Thandai, a sherbet with a very special recipe. Mostly, the drink is made with milk as base, where almonds, cashewnuts, and melon seeds are used as thickening agents. saunf, cardamom and rose petals are used for the flavour and aroma. Peppercorns and ginger powder are used to balance the sweetness.

Whereas Bhang is the paste of buds and leaves of the cannabis. It's been used in Indian subcontinent from around 1000 BC and is taken in sherbet in form of balls or golis.

The real fun begins when the hallucinating effect starts after an hour of consuming bhang. It is said that it never effects you immediately. So, while the

innocent person keeps on gulping down the supreme tasty bhang sherbet with the confidence that he or she's just fine, the effect hits him hard after some time.

In North Kolkata, bhang is quite readily available in the local sherbet shops. During the evening time, when a Kolkattan comes out for his favorite evening time adda, a glass of sherbet turns out to be their muse. When visiting Sovabazar metro station, walk for five minutes and you'll reach the crossing of B K Pal Avenue and the tram lane towards Kumartuli. Ask anyone and you'll find the old sherbet shop on your left. They churn out multiple varieties, but thandai is their highest selling item.

Getting the food items is much easier. Almost all the premium hotels in the city have their Holi Special package lined up. A party with DJ music, good food with premium booze (maybe with a stay package) comes at a reasonable price. But according to me, the best Holi parties take place at private house terrace. Gather a few of your friends, plan the bhang, booze and mutton curry with some foot tapping music- life is simply sorted.

Play Holi with responsibility, so others around you can also enjoy the festival.

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