Come Christmas and the star dish — the Christmas turkey — has made its annual appearance on most restaurant menus. As most Christmas menus are incomplete without it, turkey farms are doing brisk business.
Management at Saswad’s Capella Foods that supplies turkeys across the country, said this season they sold nearly 95 per cent of their stock, ie. 4,500 turkeys, of which 30 per cent were sold in Pune alone. “Since last year, we have been observing that the demand for small birds is higher as small families and groups cannot consume bigger birds.
Therefore, besides selling birds weighing above 5 kg, we also sold a lot of birds weighing only 2 kg,” said Malikranjan Shetty, marketing head.
He said they also sold items like ready-to-eat turkeys, curry cuts and stuffed breasts, turkey cold cuts and meat loafs. “However, the maximum demand is for turkey frankfurters and breast pieces. Besides turkey, this time we also sell a good number of other birds like duck,” he added.
Over the years, Puneites have warmed up to this delicacy and while some restaurants now offer it throughout the year, this is the time when nearly all menus boast of this special dish.
Kabir Ahuja of Arthur’s Theme said the restaurant serves turkey all year around. “However, for Christmas we have received pre-orders for the whole bird which is enough to serve 8-10 people. While we have the traditional cranberry-apple sauce, we also have turkey in barbecue sauces. Besides the whole bird, we also offer smaller portions through a la carte,” he said.
While the restaurant does not take any home orders and as the items from the restaurant can only be ordered for take-away, a few places in Pune had come up with a special menu for home deliveries.
Chef Milind Sovani at April Rain restaurant said they have received many orders for tandoori turkey stuffed with chicken biryani, which they introduced in their menu this year. “Many people like to celebrate at home but want that gourmet touch and that’s why we had introduced special turkey take-away menu, which actually became quite popular,” he says.
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Meanwhile, another item without which Christmas celebrations are impossible to imagine is wine.
Whilst many families make wine at home during Christmas, others say they buy home-made wines from people who specially prepare it at home. “Generally, people don’t like to buy wines from the market or prefer home-made wines to imported wines. Many people also take orders for traditional wines like grape wines, port wines or ginger wines,” said Christina Rodrigues, a Khadki resident.
While traditional wines are quite popular, wineries that have introduced the new varieties in fruit wines say they are selling like hot cakes too. Akalpit Prabhune, director and co-founder at Pune’s Rythm Wines, said for Christmas they have introduced strawberry-grape wine combinations besides the kiwi-grape and pineapple-grape, which have all been sold out. “It has 12 per cent alcohol content. I think people who do not like the taste of traditional wines prefer fruit wines as they are familiar with the fruity taste,” said Prabhune.