Yesterday mom went back to Mumbai and I had to get her a whole bag full of Chitale Bandhu goodies to distribute back home. When I was there I suddenly realised I hadnt reviewed this iconic place as yet. Well Chitale Bandhu is to Pune, probably what Haldiram is to Nagpur! No one goes back from Pune without a visit to this place.
Chitale Bandhu has been as famous for its food as its been for their unique Puneri behaviour (read RUDE)! They used to have only one shop, they used to stay open for very limited time and used to cap customer's orders to preserve exclusivity. There have been enough jokes on them out there. But now well thankfully they seem to have changed.
There are multiple branches, their average working times have increased and now they even have their products packed in special packages which preserves the products for a long time.
Anyways coming to the food. The most famous product from their stable is the world famous 'bakerwadi'. I don't think anyone makes it the way these guys make it! Perfectly spiced and crisp . . . you cant just stop at one! I don't think any one travelling to Pune hasn't tasted and appreciated this delicious snack.
The next best and second most famous product is the mango barfi. Big orange squares of absolute goodness! The best part is it gives you the taste of mango through out the year. This is an absolute must have when you choose from the mithai section.
Other things which are recommended are their jumbo pedhas, shrikhand (there are unending serpentine queues for this sweet yoghurt based delicacy on festivals), sutar-feni (also called buddhi ke baal) and sugar coated dry gulab jamuns.
Chitale also provides other milk products like ghee, paneer, chakka (hung curd), etc of high quality.
In all this iconic place is definitely worth a visit.
As an ending note and a tribute to their Puneri behaviour, I'll share some Chitale Bandhu jokes I know:
1) What happened when RAJNIKANTH went to Chitale Bandhu to buy bakarwadi at 3.00 pm??
Chitale:"RAJNIKANTH hoga apne ghar me....! 4 baje ke baad aaol!"
2) When the shop is on fire, the firebrigade arrives at 12:58 & asks chitale to keep shop open. Chitale says : 12 se 4 tak dukan band rehtay. 4 baje ke baad aao ....