By Veena Mohan Singh
Gadbad is the most famous ice- cream in Mangalore, Karnataka today. Gadbad is a mixture of different flavours of ice-cream with fruits, nuts and jelly. In a tall glass, one layer of kesar ice-cream, a thin layer of jelly, some dry-fruits, then strawberry ice-cream, fresh fruits and vanilla ice-cream are added to make the Gadbad ice-cream. It was an instant hit when it was first made in 1975. It is called it Gadbad because the ice-cream parlour workers could not mix and match the flavours properly in the initial stages. Since the proportion of the ingredients by the workers was gadbidi (error in Kannada) the name stuck. And Gadbad ice-cream is now the success story of Mangalore.
The brainchild of Prabhakar Kamath, Gadbad ice-cream and Pabba’s Ice cream Parlour are a must on every visitor’s itinerary. And this is no exaggeration. The five parlours in the city and the other outlets are always full in sunshine, rain or cold.
Prabhakar Kamath had visions of becoming a pilot or engineer when he was young, but fate had something else in store for him and he tumbled into business. And that too of fireworks and tailoring requisites which he inherited from his father. The death of his parents put a stop to his education and he took over the reins of business to support his three younger siblings.
Since fireworks were a few months business proposition every year, he diverted into the ice-cream business. At first Prabhakar Kamath experimented with various flavours which he tested on family and friends and when he was fully satisfied that the ice-cream he made was good he began selling it.
“It was trial and error,” he smiles, “I tried for four months before venturing it on the public.”
Customers liked his ice cream and when the demand grew he decided to expand and today there are five Pabba’s Ideal Ice Cream Parlours, several other shops and restaurants in Mangalore and his ice-cream is sold in almost all the places on the western coastline of Karnataka.
“Ideal has the largest ice-cream parlour in India in terms of seating capacity and, I think, also turnover,” he says matter of factly. “We seat 300 at a time. From 9 a.m. till 9 p.m., there’s always a full house at our ice-cream parlours. People start eating ice-cream early in Mangalore.” Ideal Ice Creams have captured 80 per cent of the market share in ice creams in Mangalore.
Ideal has 22 flavours of ice-creams and from them, about a 100 combinations are created. Names like Parfait, Tiramisu and Dilkhush are the ones that attract customers who often have more than one variety when they eat at the spotlessly clean modern parlours.
Tiramisu is a mixture of coffee, chocolate ice cream and cake while Dilkhush is a set of three ice-creams of different flavours.
Prabhakar Kamath’s son Mukund was born in May 1975 and when he turned 20 and completed his graduation he agreed willingly to join his father’s business. And he is now taking it to greater heights.
Mukund has trained at the Central Food Technology & Research Institute in Mysure and also the National Dairy Research Institute of Bengaluru. Father and son taste a spoon of ice-cream from every batch that is made every day. They select the best raw material to get good results.
Ideal Ice cream won the gold medal for the best chocolate in India in the Great Indian Ice Cream Contest, 2016. They are the proud owners of five prizes: for best vanilla, best frozen dessert and for their latest flavour jackfruit payasam which is made of jackfruit, coconut, ice-cream and cardamom.