Kolkata, as a city never fails to amaze me. Different tribes (or rather communities) have settled here over last couple of centuries and this city has embraced their varied food habits dearly. Today, we’ll talk about cold cuts, one trapeze artist and his love for city- Kalman Cold Storage.
If we say cold cuts, it’s not something very familiar with a regular Kolkata household. But, if I utter the words “Sausage”or “Salami”, the scenario changes. Frozen foods, though most of the time being rubbish, has changed our mindset towards these types of processed meat products. But what happens when one tries to find some freshly made processed meat ? Or say, cold cuts ? For this, these cold storage come in handy.
If we go by the term Charchuterie, it literally means cooked meat. Basically, it’s the branch of cooking dedicated to the prepared meat products … Now, here starts the confusion. Charcutier is the person who works in a charcuterie and can be translated in english as pork butcher. But, this genre is never dedicated to only pork and extends towards other meat as well. The genre started probably few centuries ago, when during travel, to preserve meat, salt marination was used and Romans were the first to regulate the laws on the same in first century.
Kalmans Cold Storage is one of those last few charcuteries or cold storage in town, selling mostly processed cold meat products. But there’s an interesting story behind this shop. In around 1940’s, trapeze, as a medium of entertainment, was quite popular in Kolkata. One Hungarian trapeze artist named Kalman Kohary somehow landed in the city of joy. And, somehow, when the second world war ended, that gentleman found out that his motherland has been converted into a communist country. Now, folklores fail to say whether he fell in love with the city or one of the dreamgirls here, but Kolkata was growing on Mr Kalman and he opened one of Kolkata’s oldest charcuteries, Kalman Cold Storage. After around 40 years of running the show, when he demised, his family decided to go back to Australia. And, his manager Mr B P Dhar took over the shop. Currently, his family member Mrs Ruma Dhar runs the show and Mr Joy takes care of the day to day operation.
Where to buy
All said and done, it’s basically a blink-and-miss hole in the wall. If one goes towards the Fire brigade building in Free school street, this comes in the opposite footpath. And, let me tell you, some lovely old aged LP disk shops are there around. In the evening, till date, they play those lovely Elvis songs and all one middle aged man can say is “Thanks life”…
When to buy
The shop stays relatively less busy till 5 in the evening, but after that, when the local office babus come out to buy some fancy items for their morning sandwich, please be ready to wait patiently in a queue. And, sundays are actually busy day for them. But, one can always take a chance to go there, buy some cold cuts and meet few of the gentlemans of Kolkata and catch hold of some stories.
What to buy
Now, this is a tricky question. The item list is pretty elaborate and in that hustle and bustle inside, you should plan beforehand what’s your choice. Just take a look at the aged, torn piece of paper on the wall here and you’ll probably understand what I’m saying.
Till you reach there, let’s take a look at the offerings. Other than the rush time, Joy da is quite a friendly person and can teach you a thing or two about his cold cuts. And, I’m sure, you’re not asking about the tremendous amount of fat in the bacon or the marbling. So, he’ll be quite nice. As the products are fresh, the shelf life is quite low, in fact they should be consumed just within a few days. I’d suggest to pick up their Hungarian Sausage. The reason ? partially, as a tribute to Mr Kalman and partially as being an unusual product. They are basically smoked sausages with paprika, salt, garlic, black pepper, allspice, white pepper, caraway, nutmeg, zest, marjoram, cayenne pepper and sugar. And, their lean cooked ham. The regular smoked ham here, has the fat and skin (and few unwanted strands of hair), wherein the lean cooked ham goes without them. The choice is yours.
So, if we take a look at the total offerings of this place, it would be something like below. And, P.S. on prior order, they prepare a seriously good whole chicken roast (and roasted turkey in winter season). And, when you see that fat, juicy whole chicken lying in front of you, it’s pure carnal pleasure. So, once you go to taste them, please try order for a roast. And, they believe in meeting you in person, so no Swiggy delivery here …
And, if you have some time in hand, you may like to watch the video below …
I won’t say, all the products are the best in the market, ór there’s something magical there- but go there at least once just for the experience. After all, if one gora sahib can love our city and present us a taste of cold cuts, why can’t we ?
We have also featured the same in our webseries Foodka and the same can be watched here,
Bon apetit !!!
Comments and critics welcome.
I can be reached at 9903528225 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Help taken from:
- Wikipedia articles
- Newspaper article by Arundhati Ray