The Longstanding Legacy Of Parsi Raspberry Soda
“3 Raspberry’s please”
“And for your parents?”
I think that every Parsi child has been sent off on a Raspberry retrieval mission at some point or another. While parents are embroiled in the elaborate ritual of catching-up at a Navjote or Wedding, the pursuit begins for that elusive, most sacrosanct of beverages. Raspberry. You might think that this is down to the fact that adults would prefer not to be seen ordering a sickly sweet, neon pink soda, however this could not be further from the truth. Raspberry (and yes, it is exclusively referred to mononymously, a la Cher...or Moses) is a proud and revered tradition, which Parsis of all ages take unabashed pleasure in, be they 9 or 90.
The most iconic of all the Raspberry creators was undoubtedly Duke’s - whose Mangola is still a staple at Parsi events - though after their tragic discontinuation companies like Fram’s and Pallonji took up the call to arms lest a gathering occur without a glass or Raspberry and the fabric of the universe be rent asunder. In 2011 they made an attempt to relaunch with all their old favourites but unfortunately it didn’t see the meteoric comeback we hoped for and the outliers have become the staples at most restaurants, especially in Mumbai.
Today Pallonji reigns supreme with their iteration of the favourite available across the city, most often in the scores of Irani cafes who decided to stock the drink due to popular demand. [Note to readers: To clear up any confusion here, despite sharing a religion, Parsis and Iranis have a decidedly separate culture and Raspberry is definitely one of the things Parsis hold claim to...fiercely.] People wax lyrical about the nuances and experiences of Parsi cuisine - more often than not that simply means glorifying dhansak - but within that spectrum of delights influenced by Persia and nurtured by India, lies this quickly fading legacy. Ingrained within every happy memory and never too far from thoughts at dinner time, Raspberry has become more than a simple soda, its emblematic of a disappearing culture that cherishes tradition, childlike wonder and great food.
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