Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 22, Tuesday June 3, 2008




Compliance with KPCS
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme , popularly known as KPCS is a process designed to certify the origin of rough diamonds from sources which are free of conflict. The process was established in 2003 to prevent rebel groups and their rivals from financing their war aims from diamond sales. The certification scheme aims at preventing these "blood diamonds" from entering the mainstream rough diamond market. It was set up with the aim of assuring the consumers that by purchasing diamonds they were not financing war and human rights abuses.The KPCS originated from a meeting of Southern African diamond producing states in Kimberley, Northern Cape in May 2000. In December 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution supporting the creation of an international certification scheme for rough diamonds, and every year since the General Assembly has renewed its support for the KP - most recently in December 2006.

Naturally cool

This, I promise, is the last one on my recent Mumbai trip. I promise not to bore you with any more of my daring do's of this trip.

But I simply have to share with you this one thing, which you only get in Mumbai. Well, that's not entirely true. I'm told, you get it in Pune as well. But who's going to Pune regularly?

I did promise in my last installment that I will talk about ice cream in Mumbai. And so I will.

Mumbai has a fair collection of ice cream brands. An average Mumbaikar (the correct term for someone living in Mumbai) is split for choice when it comes to having a scoop of two, starting with the multinational to the very local, hand cranked ones. From Bandra to Borivelli, from Peddar Road to Panvel, every two steps will lead you to the odd ice cream stand.

But standing head and shoulder above the rest is a chain called Naturals Ice Cream. Their uniqueness- fresh fruits. And seasonal ones, too.

Watermelon, mango, litchi, black grape, gooseberry, chikoo (safeda), sitafal (ata) and something called tender coconut as well!

With every mouthful you get a luscious bit of juicy fruit, deliciously frozen and oozing with fresh natural flavours. Most of the colours of the ice cream are derived from the fruits that are used. So the watermelon flavour will not only taste real, it will also look very melony. You should really see the black grape variety. Dark purple in colour, with visible pieces, yes pieces and not extract, of real black grapes dotting the entire scoop.

And then there is the gooseberry. Little tart yellow blighters. But when you chop them up, they naturally lend themselves to be great jam material with a bit of spice. So I was expecting this bright yellow creamy stuff when I ordered it. What came to me was a pale cream coloured stuff, dotted with yellow specs. One bite and I was transported straight to a gooseberry orchard. The yellow specs were gooseberry seeds that just burst upon biting. And I couldn't escape biting them. They were everywhere in the scoop!

But the most amazing flavour is the tender coconut. Now we all have had our fair share of green coconut and have scooped out the soft flesh. But did we once think of doing anything else with it? Well, these guys did. They took tender coconuts, scooped out the flesh and chopped it into little bits. Then they have taken plain ice cream, and when I say plain I do not mean vanilla, and mixed the bits in. Unless you try this you will not know the soothing effect it has on you on a scorching day.

Their nut and chocolate flavours are not bad either. But if I were to sample the stuff, I will do it purely for the fruits. One word of caution. Do not order flavours, which are not in season. Either you will not get it, or worse, you will get stale stuff. Please do not expect to have great mango flavour in the middle of winter or ask for strawberries during monsoon. Have your seasonal fruit ideas clear before you walk in. And then, just go for it.

Many have extolled the virtues of fusion cuisine. And I'll be the first to try out pan seared snapper with cumin kokum coulis and wash it down with tamarind margarita. But this to me represents a new height of fusion. Take an idea as Western as ice cream, add things as tropical and Indian as mango or tender coconut, and what you have is pure bliss. Especially on a hot summer day.



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