I’m a very passive consumer on Facebook; apart from an occasional ‘Like’ or the even rarer Comment on things that I really like or find interesting, I usually sit back and scroll and read what others are saying without actually participating in conversation threads. But a few weeks back, a post on a food group on Facebook really caught my eye and got me all excited. It was by a guy called Kedar Anil Gadgil and it was about jams. More specifically, jams made in Pune from his wife’s 100 year old family recipes that were safe and good enough for their toddler to eat straight out of the jar.
I really, really love jams. Very strangely so, since I do not have a sweet tooth at all and rarely even enjoy ice-cream. I’m usually found looking aghast as the husband downs bowl after bowl of Basundi or swallows whole Gulab-Jamuns with a joyous ummmmmm sound. “Indian sweets are too sweet” I always complain but I have never, ever held that against jams. This love affair began 15 years ago in a tiny village in Germany, where I found that the only way I could eat their 55 varieties of bread was if they were touched upon with a slathering of sublime apricot or peach jam. The family I lived with grew all kinds of fruit in their backyard that were plucked, painstakingly sorted and then preserved for the long winters. The jams in Germany spread easily and smoothly on the bread. They were fruity and natural and oh-so-good!
Once I came back to Pune I continued to love jams although the jams here were hard and jelly-like and not spread-friendly. We would ask people to get us jars of the whole strawberry jam from Mapros in Mahabaleshwar and occasionally indulge in the insanely expensive pots of jam from Dorabjee’s.
My love for jams is only preceded by my love for products that have a story behind them. I adore stories of entrepreneurs, stories of family legacies, of traditions being passed on and kept alive for years and years. Kedar’s post ticked all these boxes. The jam recipes come from his wife Natasha’s great-grandmother who learned jam recipes from her interactions with the British and Scottish ladies in the earlier part of the twentieth century. She passed down the recipes in her family and this is how they came to Natasha, who will be passing them on to her baby girl Kymaia, keeping this long chain unbroken. (Aren’t you in love already?)
I was swept off my feet, so I immediately wrote to Kedar asking for samples. Fast-forwarding to a few weeks later, the samples had all flown off the shelves, Kedar’s fabulous marketing had led to a huge demand for their jams, as a result of which I had disappointingly not received my little jam baby jars yet. Not one to keep a hungry customer disappointed for long, Kedar called me up and personally came over with three flavours for me to try – Strawberries & Lavender, Figs & Ginger and Mangoes & Nothing.
I was already sold on the story but the jams are of a different level altogether! Very fruity, natural tasting and absolutely divine! The only word I can think of is moreish. You cannot have just one spoon and stop! The consistency is perfect too – easy to spread on breads and chapattis or to mix with your Muesli or yoghurt. They have come up with wonderful flavor combinations and I immediately splurged on three more jars – Mangoes & Mint, Figs & Cinnamon and Grapes & Ginger.
Kedar and his wife gifted these jams to their friends last Diwali and after having seen how his wife was constantly jamming for one friend or the other, Kedar joked about how they needed to start charging for the jam jars. When their friends seemed more than happy to actually pay for the jams, the couple decided to really take the idea ahead and thus was born Tasha & Girl in January this year. Little Kymaia, who turns three this year is the tester for all the flavors and there is nothing in the jams that a child cannot safely eat. The husband and child absolutely loved them too and the meals this weekend have primarily been toast and jam!
The website explains their whole process of jam-making beautifully so I can stop selling now (Kedar, you’re not even paying me for this!) but I urge you to go ahead and try the jams because we are really lucky to have this right here in Pune! Locally grown fruits, child-safe products all coming from a 100-year old legacy. Aur kya chahiye?
A whole section of our refrigerator dedicated to Tasha & Girl because I tend to buy and love things with the ‘why rain when it can pour?’ philosophy: