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24.09.2018

Life is markedly improved by some bubbly, we think, as we browse the many offerings of Kobo Fermentary, an Instagram only operation that “ferments (almost) anything!” We decide to test this bold claim and slide into their DMs to place an order. A scant few days later, a few clinking bottles of the fizzy business turn up at our door.

The pretty label tells us that wild cultures are contained within, that this is probiotic, that we should resist the temptation to shake the bottle despite the enticing particulate matter we can see floating in the cloudy liquid. Kobo is prolific in its endeavour to actually ferment everything - some light Insta stalking reveals everything from smreka (fermented juniper berry juice) to Italian style veggie giardiniera. Each week has something new on offer. We are tasting their highly recommended ginger ale, a sparkling guava, tepache - a Mexican drink made from the peel and the rind of pineapple - and sparkling tamarind.

Thrown in with the drinks is a small pot of fermented pico de gallo that Kobo warns us might be too fermented for some palates. We decide to jump into the deep end of the fermentation vat, reach for chips to take on this challenger, and find that while its makers might be right about how pungent it is (we are defeated a few crisps in), it’s far from unpleasant. Perhaps this is a delicacy we need to level up to.

We turn to the tepache to wash down our snack. It opens with a satisfying pop and hiss, a pungent cloud of sweet smelling pineapple rising to our noses. We sip cautiously, unsure what to expect and are immediately delighted be a stream of effervescence dancing over our tongues. The drink is thankfully low on the sugar, faint hints of pineapple teasing us like a caressing Cabo ocean breeze and bubbly.

Learn to belch elegantly before consuming this in public, folks.

Learn to belch elegantly before consuming this in public, folks.

The next day, we turn to the ginger ale to beat the relentless heat. It’s utterly perfect - sharp and prickly to offset the bubbles and immediately cooling. We start wondering if it replace the sugary Schweppes we rely on for our Jameson and gingers. Is it too early to place another order?

We are buoyant with joy (and the gas the fermentation process has released) and turn to the sparkling guava with an eagerness. Here, fizziness is offset by the graininess of the guava, highly flavourful, and it immediately becomes our second favourite way to consume the fruit (the first being on the road, by the thela, after anna has cut it with a knife dipped into a bag of salt and chilli). We approach the final drink, the sparkling tamarind with trepidation, but for naught. This turns out to be a Hajmola-perfect balance of tart and sweet, the perfect digestif to our taste test.

Break out the bubbles!

Getting There: Direct message Kobo Fermentary on Instagram to find what’s on offer and how to order. Prices range between Rs. 180-220 per bottle.

Sushmita Sundaram writes about food, culture, and discovering your city. Follow her on Twitter at @sushmitas.

bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.

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