Paramount Thirst

People may have various kinds of thirst- thirst for water, for tea, for coffee etc. But today I discovered something that stands out of the lot- ‘thirst for Sherbet’, after tasting “Dub Sherbet” at Paramount.
I have never had ideas of how tasty and nutritious a fancy drink can be until I tasted “Green Mango” of Paramount, a stand-alone place for sherbets, the first time some 4 years back with my mother on a trip to College Street to buy boring Physics books! This is the only known place for healthy non-alcoholic drinks in the whole of Kolkata! This place is almost hundred years old and surprisingly they have held up their tradition and business both while catering to the needs of their beloved customers. Paramount is a small sherbet parlor, a place where merely thirty customers will fit at a time, but none will ever leave a chance of tasting a drink from there.DSC_1862
History of this place dates back to the early 1900’s. This shop for sherbets was started way back in 1918, with the name Paradise, at College Square, during the British Raj in India. Later in 1936 the name was changed to Paramount. Many Swadeshi activists like Subhash Chandra Bose, Meghnad Saha, Kazi Nazrul Islam and many more had their meeting venues here, and with those crucial meetings developed the sale of sherbets. Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy was a staunch supporter of the Swadeshi movement and he was very much against drinking tea, since at that time the British were the owners of the tea gardens. His view on not drinking tea even though it was cultivated in his native land was, that, if one buys tea he’s actually paying the British, he is giving away his money to Britain and thus not being a part of the Swadeshi movement. This man not only was of immense important to the world of Science but also to the then owner of Paramount, Nihar Ranjan Majumdar. Acharya P.C Roy had given him a secret recipe, which changed the business history of that sherbet parlor. As in those days students had limited budget for their lunch and transport, spending after a mere sherbet was considered a luxury. To make the sherbets cheaper, the owner either had to degrade the quality of his serve or run on a loss. He came up with a healthy solution. “Dub Sherbet”. A very simple but nutritious and worthy drink. It was basically made of the coconut water especially from Basirhat and some sweeteners and the thin flesh of the green coconut punched together to produce something which fills out one’s thirst, gives energy, and (the malai) meets one’s hunger. Three in one solution! This sherbet is the oldest and still surviving best of the restaurant, with a calorific value of 96. The first stated price for this sherbet was 50 paisa, and now due to the devaluation of our economy it has risen to 40 rupees!
Then with time and coordination of the friendly owners the business grew and their menu card stretched out longer. In the year 1992 Mrigendra Majumdar, the present owner, came up with a trial of his own invented recipe- “Cocoa Malai”. A drink based on butter milk and chocolate. The increasing fascination for chocolate and the healthy sides of it made him ponder upon a drink made from chocolates. This drink is not plain milk and chocolate but it has a whole lot of added nutritious value to it- cashews, almonds, raisins and of course the thing which makes it so exciting and unique- Kheer malai. This sherbet is not just delicious but high in nutritious value, for its rich content of dry fruits, milk and chocolate, with a calorific value of 4210. The first time it was priced Rs. 12, and now it stands high in the list priced Rs.60.
Paramount Thirst
Another very rare sherbet to be found there is the “Passion Fruit Sherbet (Ruvri based)”. For this sherbet they need to import good quality passion fruit from the USA, and punch it with Ruvri and serve a cool delicious drink. The passion fruit alone has high content of protein, sugar, dietary fiber, potassium and vitamins. Consumption of this fruit also lowers the risks of high blood pressure. Though this drink is costlier than the rest, once you taste it you’ll find its worth. It has a calorific value is 4710.
With all these famous and tasty sherbets adds on the humble man’s personal touch to his customers, that draw in more and more loyal sherbets lovers to this heritage spot. It is an advice to all the gourmands out there, whenever you go to College Street, please visit this parlor, and you’ll naturally find yourself drawn in there every time you come nearby.
Dated – 6.9.13


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