Some of the best memories of my life somehow have food in it. These memories – of a great conversation over holidays, gorging ourselves with rum & raisin cakes, a late night party with pizzas and drinks, a trip to some place remote with nothing in tummy but Maggi & Chai & the best – endless trips to grandparents & hogging the delicacies that would be prepared in our welcome – are a testament to what great food can do to seemingly trivial events.
So, who said that travel has to happen only in pursuit of peace, mountains or beaches?! It could also happen in the search of the best culinary experiences. And if you do agree with that, you need to dedicate one of the coming weekends to the tangy, tasty and yummy treats of Panchgani, just 20 kms away from Mahabaleshwar.
Last year around this time, we visited Mapro Gardens on our way to Mahabaleshwar. By the looks of it, nothing special. Okay, may be a tad bit special. However, if nature is on your side, and you are in your sane mind, that day can stay in your memories for years to come – all for good reasons. Yes! All good reasons – juicy strawberries, delightful shakes & crunchy, cheesy pizzas – overlooking a scenery that touches the dusty chords of your heart & plays the favourite tunes from your childhood.
Wait till you watch it for yourself. I bet you will come back with scribbles and doodles!
We went to Mapro Gardens around 26th January in 2017. It was a sunny afternoon. We started really early from Pune after gorging ourselves with some cottage cheese filled with Goda Masala (courtesy: younger brother). When we reached the farms, there were some Strawberries mascots hanging around – willingly sharing your picture frames. They had a Nano dressed up in Strawberries too. And you could click pictures next to it.
20 minutes – that’s all it takes to take a good look of the farm – with manicured grass, small Strawberry saplings looking at you cutely, and numerous flowers happily welcoming you to the farm. This is a precursor to the experience that’s gonna follow – dining in the huge cafetaria.
A huge, canopied space with iron chairs and aproned tables with salt, chilli, pepper, mustard & tomato sauce bottles placed on the top, call you. There’s always some space left to accommodate more. You could always scooch & shift. You could order more than you think. You could certainly eat way more than you imagine. Your bellies that initially grunt at the spicy smells, inflate after plates of French Fries, Grilled Sandwiches and Bruschetta!
And the Strawberries – squashed, syruped or freshly cherry picked – burst with flavours in your mouth with every bite.
Wonder what joys a small farm can bring to you?!
Plan. Book. Hop. Hitch. Ride. Reach. And eat.