The Telegraph
Saturday , November 10 , 2012
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World of goodies in hamper

Dried kiwis from New Zealand, Californian pistachios, Turkish apricots. Though emotions stay desi, the hamper goes global.

Jamshedpur loves to give and receive dry fruits as Diwali gifts. In fact, right after dazzle and decibel, come dry fruits as an integral part of the festival of lights. Last year, the city went nuts shopping for cashew, raisins, almonds and pistachios, doing business of around Rs 30 lakh.

This year, according to the 10-odd dry fruit wholesalers, imports are the season’s festive munch.

Entrepreneurs, corporate executives, traders, kin and friends are all looking for the exotic quotient in the dry fruit market — and getting it too.

Dried kiwi imported from New Zealand and marketed in Jamshedpur by a Delhi firm is this year’s Diwali surprise.

“So far, we have sold more than 50 packets of these dried fruits. People see the transparent packet and fall for its looks, despite a steep price tag of Rs 160 for 200 gm,” said Om Prakash Agarwal of Goel Trading Company in Bistupur.

But when it comes to Diwali, wallets loosen up.

Agarwal added that the Delhi firm had thoughtfully given booklets describing how dried kiwis were great for health. Kiwis are rich in Vitamin C and have inositol, which make them safe for diabetics.

“Corporate buyers love to impress clients with gifts. Packed with goodness and good looks, kiwis are making the perfect corporate Diwali gift this season,” said Agarwal.

Apricots from Turkey are also making an impression. They come for Rs 400 per kg.

Pistachios from California are not to be left behind. “This year, pistachios are selling very well, especially the salt-and-pepper variant priced at Rs 800 per kg,” said wholesaler Sabermal Choudhary in Sakchi.

High on the taste-o-meter are flavoured raisins and cashew nuts, both new entrants. Raisins with pan masala flavour seem to be ruling the roost, but those boasting litchi, mango and orange accents have also found fans. Flavoured raisins come for Rs 600 per kg. Cashew nuts with fusion flavours like honey roasted, chilli-garlic and tangy masala come for Rs 800 per kg.

As tastes grow global, can packaging be left behind? Starting from Rs 140, wholesalers offer cardboard, metal box and cane basket options. “Class is king,” smiles Sabermal.

Businessman and former Ranji cricketer Manoj Yadav agrees. “I was bowled by dry fruits on display this time and bought kiwis, apricots, flavoured nuts and raisins. Price is no bar for quality,” he said.

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