The ice-creams in Mangalore are a class apart
Summer's here and every Mangalorean knows what the season brings with it. For three months there is no escaping the scorching heat and stifling humidity. But not everything is depressing, as the city that is famous for fish curry is also known for its ice-creams. It even has its own distinct identity in the ice cream world, the gadbad. Yes, Mangalore is best known for creating this much-relished ice-cream, which is a combination of various flavours of ice-cream, fruits, dry fruits and jellies. The three biggest ice cream outlets in the city are Ideal Ice Cream Parlour, Hang Yo and Pabba's. And you have to be really fast if you want to find a seat here in the evenings. Of the three, Ideal, which was started in 1975, is the biggest with over 80 per cent of the market share. Its owner Prabhakar Kamath also owns Pabba's. He says the main reasons for his success are quality control, innovation pricing and service.
"Today's consumers are very taste-conscious. Even a small compromise on quality will jeopardise all that has gone into making Ideals the brand it is today," he says, adding that the people who create his signature ice-creams - gadbad, parfait and dilkush - are well-trained in their tasks. Sadashiv, an accountant with the Karnataka Power Transmission Company Limited (KPTCL), comes along with his family once a fortnight to eat ice cream at the outlet. He says his favourite ice-cream is the parfait. "The service as well as the quality and taste is excellent."Aruna and Renuka, who are physiotherapy lectures at KMC, are again all praise for Ideals: "No other place we can find a better ice cream parlour."Pradeep Pai, the Managing Director Hang Yo, feels that ice cream parlours in Mangalore have an advantage because the multinational chains do not focus on secondary cities because of logistical problems. He says his company comes up with three to four new varieties of ice creams every year to appease its customers. It pioneered the milk sticks, which are very popular with kids. The brand currently has 32 varieties on offer, including the softy, which was introduced in 1997.The ice-cream makers have to resort to making a variety of ice creams because Mangaloreans are very choosy in their tastes and ice cream is almost an extension of life. Ambika Nayak, who works at Standard Chartered Bank in Bangalore but comes to Mangalore frequently, says she cannot keep away from the ice cream in the city. Sachita, Head of the Department, Journalism, Beasant College, says: "Mangalore is warm throughout the year. Even when it is heavily raining, we sweat. That makes ice-cream a commodity always in demand."Keen to ensure that the city's residents keep up their ardour for one of the world's favourite desserts, the ice-cream manufacturers are promising to continue their innovative streak. "It is a whole meal, not simply a dessert!" says Prabhakar Kamat.Pradeep Pai adds: "Even the finance minister has exempted ice-creams from the purview of central excise duty so that even a common man can afford good ice creams."AMRITA NAYAK