P is for Parle products – from the ubiquitous, ever popular, the best-selling biscuit in the world – Parle-G and the many other biscuit varieties that I grew up with (Krackjack and Monaco among them) to the many candies (Poppins anyone? which offered a fruity rainbow in every roll, the one with the name that made us giggle as kids – the ‘cardamomy’ Kismi, and the oh-so chocolatey Melody). It is among the oldest recognized brands in India with its origins in 1929 with 12 employees. Now, it has almost 40% of the biscuit market in India and about 15% of the candy market.
The Parle-G biscuit, first produced in 1938, can perhaps be called the company’s mascot product and the little girl on the wrapper is recognizable anywhere in India – from the remotest villages to the high-rises in the cities. Many rumors regarding the girl’s identity were laid to rest when the company finally announced that the girl was in fact an illustration by an Everest creative in the 1960s. The biscuits simplicity in its taste, its packaging that has pretty much remained as it was years ago, in its sheer honest-to-goodness quality, and its affordability make it a household name across India (and elsewhere too!).
The wonderful legacy of Parle Products can be read on its website here – The Parle Story.
Adding a description – thanks to TarlaDalal.com –
‘Parle-G is a small, rectangular flat-baked sweet biscuit, manufactured and marketed by Parle Foods. It is filled with the goodness of milk and wheat, and the G apparently stands for Glucose and Genius since it is a source of strength for body and mind. It is made up of wheat flour, sugar, partially hydrogenated edible vegetable oils, invert syrup, leavening agents, salt, milk solids, emulsifiers,dough conditioners,added flavours,Glucose and Levulose’
My memories of Parle products include many a quick dunk of biscuits in cups of tea, chocolate, milk or cocoa; eating them by the packs while we played antakshari ,card games like bluff or housie ,
while studying for exams (I especially recall one night in our hostel where I and my roommates bought at least two dozen packs of Parle G biscuits, put all our beds together to form a huge workspace so we could study through the night with a couple of flasks of tea and the biscuits right between us. Guess what? The biscuits and the tea were definitely emptied, but the books – well, let us say we were up the next day as well so we could actually study!!); popping Poppins while watching movies and sharing them with friends in the theater; and walking to the neighborhood store to buy some of everything!
Now, our every trip to our neighborhood Indian grocery stores is not complete without a Parle product in our cart (be it Parle-G, or Monaco, or the newer favorites like Hide-and-Seek or Milano, as well as the many newer snacks and other old favorites).
I leave those of you who grew up in India in the 80s/90s with nostalgia with this TV ad (followed by today’s reader question)
Q to the reader: Your favorite biscuit (or cookie) and/or candy from childhood?
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11 thoughts on “P is for Parle”
I see parle G I remember going for a walk with my Dadaji to the near by shop …. There use to be stacks of packs of Parle G next to a big board of ad of the same
Sweet and nostalgic post
Thanks for sharing
Wow. Thanks for the info! They haven't quite made the splash (or is that the dip?) here in the States.
Roy, these are available in Indian grocery stores in the States too which is where I get my weekly cravings satisfied for them – I need them with my chai
.. and the name 'biscuit' might be misleading to some since these are more like confectionery biscuits than the softer bread-like ones..(refer – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biscuit)…
I couldn't agree more. I just love the Parle Glucose biscuits but my all time favourite were the cream biscuits
🙂 my kids will agree with you.. they prefer Bourbons and the Hide-and-Seek types.. while me and hubby need either the Parle-G or Marie biscuits with our chai..
I've not seen them here in the UK. I have an Indian store near me. I'm going to investigate. Thanks for a tasty read!
Another day in Amble Bay!
I am not familiar with these little pastries. Might have to find them, now that I have read this.
Thanks Linsa.. these are more cripsy cookies (in the plainest form) than anything else 🙂
I've had something similar called Arrowroot biscuits. Again, I'm learning new things from you!
You wont believe it but I am mucnhing on some as I am reading your post 😉
These are my ever fav biscuits – guess a throwback from my childhood. And yes the Poppins and the Phantom Ciggarettes are my much treasured sweet memories from that time!! 🙂