Mahabaleshwar is called the Grand Canyon of India. And rightfully so. Vast expanses of greenery, deep mountainous terrain, dizzying heights, narrow roads and chilly weather! Perfect for a weekend getaway. And the amazing local food and produce makes it even more worthwhile for foodies like me to take a trip. So a bunch of us set off this weekend for a getaway. (Which explains the long hiatus from blogging).
The weekend was filled with food, food and only food. We lived between meals, planning the next meal while we ate our first. Out of all that we ate, here are my top three most memorable.
1. Strawberries, strawberries, and some more strawberries.
Mahabaleshwar ‘aint called the ‘land of strawberries’ for nothing. As one drives into Panchgani one can start seeing strawberry vendors on either side of the tiny roads. Every food stall sells the fruit in whatever variation possible…juice, milkshake, ice cream, with fresh cream, with syrup, with chocolate….and whatever other combination one can think of. There are tiny plantations selling strawberries overlooking the valley where one can go strawberry picking too!
We sampled the strawberry- fresh cream combination at three places: Mapro gardens, Bagicha restaurant & Hirakani gardens. All three equally good. Ask for one without the ice-cream and syrup on your next visit. Strawberry-fresh cream in the pure form!
2. Maharashtrian Thali.
Mahabaleshwar is filled with thali places: Punjabi, Gujarati and Maharashrian varieties. Skip the Punjabi and Gujarati ones and head straight for the local one! We sampled a Maharashtrian thali at Bagicha restaurant. Bagicha is quite famous in Mahabaleshwar with outlets all over. The thali is absolute Value for Money for 250 bucks of unlimited goodness. Thali comprises of corn sabzi, aloo sabzi, french beans sabzi, dal, usal, baingan gravy, dahi kadhi, pitla and jawar roti. And let me not forget the thecha which is made up of green chilli and garlic. Loved everything on the thali, though, special mention to the kadhi, corn sabzi, thecha, and pitla. Traditional, wholesome, unlimited food…this was our most favourite meal. And we ‘destroyed’ the thali. Fully paisa vasool!
3. Corn Bhajiyas
For that matter, corn anything. The next famous ingredient after strawberries, used almost in any dish is corn. So they make corn pattice, corn bhajiyas, corn pakodas, corn frankies, corn sabzi, and for the less adventurous plain old corn on the cob! We ended up trying all of these and loved whatever we ate. The corn pattice with green chutney combination went perfectly with the weather. A cup of hot coffee and one doesn’t need anything else.
All in all, such a fun trip with fun people. And good food was the cherry on the cake!