Tag Archives: fruit market

Retracing the Nawabi steps at Muzzam Jahi Market, Hyderabad

Standard

Imagine baskets brimming with Persian fruit, women in black burqhas clutching shopping bags, children running between corridors of the stone building housing the market, vendors and errand boys carrying baskets for the Nawab’s family and friends. And above this all stood the clock tower of the Muzzam Jahi market in quiet aristocracy!

Sadly, it’s all gone now. The splendid market is just a piece of history and architecture.

But don’t lose heart. In spite to the distance from my part of the city (the market is located in Koti, Hyderabad) braving the chaotic traffic of honking cars, buses and cyclists, I was determined to visit and relive a piece of history. In fact, to take delight in the ‘Famous Ice Cream’ and buy some Dilkhush biscuits at the nearby Karachi Bakery were important too.

Majestic Muzzam Jahi market building and tower

Majestic Muzzam Jahi market building and tower

m-jahi-right-arcade

 

The Nizams did everything in grandeur, this market too was built with utmost care. It was constructed during the reign of the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan in 1935, and was named after his second son Moazzam Jah. Originally meant to be a fruit market, it soon turned out to be a place where one could find just about anything — fruits, vegetables, flowers, groceries, earthen pots, arms and ammunitions….yes that’s true! And paan, ice-cream, dry fruits, hookahs and ittar.

The fruit vendors, have been moved to Kothapet market and Monda market, others had stalls on the adjoining roads. Mounds of seasonal juicy oranges and soft. green custard apples lay scattered on the street floors.

street shop selling custard apple fruit

street shop selling custard apple fruit

As I walked into the central circular area, there was a round building lined with shops. From here, the semi- circular stone corridor was almost breath taking! What precision and calculation of exact height and width of the stone columns and the arches made this an architectural masterpiece! At both ends of the corridor a helix staircase lead to an upper open floor. The market building was made of brown stone brought from central Deccan plateau. The main tall clock tower at the entrance faced outwards. Pigeons seem to co exist with humans and vegetables in the central courtyard. Shopkeepers regularly scattered grains for the fluttering birds. Well, spot them here if you can.

central-courtyard-round-shops

Retracing the steps of Nawabs, their women folk and dozen children, I softly stepped up the stone corridor, peeking in and out of the numerous arches. Maybe a love story opened here? Romance,  demure fleeting glances, giggling girls hiding behind the columns, young men darting a glance? Imagine.

market-corridor

Today the wooden shop doors, looked vintage. Some were painted in a myriad of bright colours. Blue, brown, green, yellow and white – some shut, some half open, some begging for renovation. The interior space was deep, dark and air stone cooled. Out of the seventy odd shops, only a few remain functional today as grain stores, vegetable shops, oil traders and a few hookah and ittar shops. Chatting with a few Muslim fruit sellers they remembered how everyone lived here in harmony since past 50-70 years.

shop-door-painted

Exotic fruit. That was what the market was initially famous for. Hyderabad being in central India made it an important trade route. The Nawabs had elaborate kitchens and matching Khandaani cuisines that were renowned in the Arabic and European aristocracy. Figs and Narangi from Iran and Persia, Dates from the Arabic region, apples from Afghanistan and Kashmir, dry fruit of badam, pista, poonji, kishmish. Olives and olive oil from Iran and Spain. A well catered market.

Lastly, it was time to find THAT Famous Ice Cream shop…yes that’s it’s name!

Located on the outer corridor facing the noisy road, it was well tucked in. Red plastic chairs and tables lay out in the open courtyard in front. One corner had stainless steel ice cream churns and large vessels to boil milk. The other side displayed an old tempting menu board. The old man and his younger son have owned this shop for over 70 years, scooping out delicious, fruity soft ice cream, to young and old, and many a romantic pair. Spoilt for choice I was. I ordered one scoop of malai anjeer (cream and figs) and another of sitaphal (custard apple) and enjoyed those melting moments of cream in the mouth. For a recipe on sitaphal see here.

Famous Ice cream menu

Famous Ice cream menu

Now won’t you follow my footsteps to this grand Hyderabad market? Tell me about your experiences, maybe at other ice cream, hookah or candy shops that still open doors to customers. Till then,  Khuda Hafiz…Bye.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

 

 

 

Advertisements

A Fruit Trail: From Market to Orchards, Sondrio Valley.

Standard
A Fruit Trail: From Market to Orchards, Sondrio Valley.

One morning in August, as we drove through the towns of Sondrio valley, Northern Italy, the pristine scenery of rugged hills and terraced slopes seemed like a perfect holiday spot. As we drove through the quaint towns, occasionally we spotted children on bicycles, old men at street corners, cigars in hand , adjusting their seats to catch the morning sun. Weekend had made the town of Valtellina very quiet. Till…… we suddenly stumbled upon a market!

‘Stop, stop.  looks like it’s the weekend market.’I pleaded to hubby. ‘ A great place to pick up fresh fruit and bread for our drive up the terraced slopes, in search of our dream stay. ‘ Oh! it’s your blog again’ laughed hubby.

A burst of activity  unfolded: Vans offloaded fruit carts, women walked briskly with straw baskets, plants and pots arranged on the street corner, a giant van with cheese in 20 different varieties was screaming for attention. And the season’s fresh plump fruit was literally waiting to be devoured……rather ‘be bought’ Orange, yellow, purple and green. The Sondrio valley market was a hum of activity and riot of colour!

Province display board

Province display board

This summer, the fruit studded the market : Nectarines, plums, persimmons, apples, kiwi fruit , tomato and pears. It all arrives from nearby towns of Valmalenco, Morbedo, Pegdirino in the Lombardy region. ‘Up there…along the slopes….’ said the lady pointing to the fertile region. The town itself borders the Swiss Alps, and is blessed with cool summers and mild winters. Valtellina abounds in vineyards and apple orchards, making it a popular home for the Lombardy nobility and rich farmers. Stall holders spoke mostly in French and Italiano – they were helpful in guiding us to the valley’s apple orchards.

Trays of delicate, frilly mushrooms caught my eye. ‘How do you eat this? I inquired. ‘They are lightly buttered and sautéed before adding them to a pasta dish. And you must eat our local tagliatelle pasta – its’ called Pizzocheri’. I quickly scribbled the name on a piece of paper, knowing my memory would fade quickly this was almost a tongue twister pasta name, I thought to myself.

Fresh fruit stall

Fresh fruit stall

Have you wondered where the Swiss cows feed ? And how many litres of milk make a kilo of cheese? To see a cheese factory, I would have walk up to the Swiss Alps as early as 3 am to see cheese making! Or else, join a tour guide and stay at the farms. Hmm…maybe next time. Till then, we settled buying a variety of cheese slices to nibble along the way. ‘Goat milk or buffalo milk?’ inquired the lady. Did we understand the difference? I smiled. Well, the taste and density differs, I learned.

And thus began the trail from the market to the fruit orchards.

We drove up into the hills, twisting and turning into small towns, stopping to admire bunches of red apples that peeked through branches, sometimes hanging in clusters of 4-5, weighing the branch down. Hundreds of apple trees in rows after rows, green red-brown – The colours of Nature. Apples, apples everywhere..on the branches, on the floor and crates full at corner stalls and markets.

Finally, we halted at the Agri Turissimo  lodge. Every moment rewarded with scenic views and fresh Italian meals. Our hosts: Frederika, Mirco and Deborah made us feel comfortable and personally cared for. The dining area ambience was created with a fire chimney and old traditional wood furniture. Sparkling wine glasses at the bar with candle lights created a romantic evening setting. The beauty was of course outdoors: one could sit on the wooden benches, admire the backdrop of mountains and sit nestled in the apple orchards.  Truly natural.

Home stay - Agri Turissimo

Home stay – Agri Turissimo

Misty walks in the morning into the fruit orchards were a perfect way to learn about the soil, annual flowering /fruiting time and fertilizer requirements. Before winter, its time for fruit plucking and sorting. This would be done entirely by hand. Coperatives collect fruit from each farmer and pack it for storage and distribution. Excess (low quality) apples are often sold in local town markets. Dozens of spoilt fruit litter the ground.

Orchard of green apples

Green apple orchard, Northern Italy

The valley’s slopes are man’s testimony to the use of rough land. History notes how travelling monks cleared the woods, terraced the rugged slopes, irrigating them and planting rows of vineyards. The region, since then, produces the best wine in Italy ! Only the south-facing slopes receive the summer sunshine – making it much sought after by the nobility and rich farmers.

Kiwi fruit in orchard

Kiwi fruit in orchard

Our hosts, Mirco and Frederika took us around their vineyards, and shared stories on a new hobby: bee-keeping . In summer they keep lined wooden boxes out in the woods, where flowers are blooming. Bees gather honey and buzz into the box. Honey is collected and stored in bottles, sold at the lodge and the local markets.

Bee keeper - at the Agri Turissimo lodge

Bee keeper – at the Agri Turissimo lodge

Fresh bunches of grapes hanging from trailers. The region is home to best wine!

Vine trailers with abundance of Grape bunches

Vine trailers with abundance of Grape bunches

A magazine  highlighting the various grapes and the history of cultivation in Valtellina.

Information about Grapes for wine making, Sondrio valley

Information about grapes used in wine making, Sondrio valley.

Co-operative display boards for the Melavi Apple in the orchards. Some fruit makes its way to local markets, and neighbouring towns. Adjacent towns hold markets on different days of the week, thus sustaining cooperation and community approach to farming. Women often exchange recipes and social networking, they set up stalls with home-made jams, tomato sauce, honey and fruit tarts. Isn’t is a great way to meet new people and get to know the town people? We did just that…town hopping for dinner, sourcing popular local restaurants off the main streets.

Co-op Fruit market board

Co-op Fruit market board

Having completed a trail from the market to the fruit orchards, from the honey bottles to bee keepers and savouring fruit tarts made by local women, it was time to say Ciao – goodbye to Nature’s bounty in Sondrio.

I leave  you with an Italian quote we heard during our holiday:

Chi lavora mangia, Chi non lavora mangia, beve e dorme (Who works, eat. Who doesn’t work, eat, drink and sleep)

Have you ever stayed at an Agri -Tourist accomodation? What was your experience?