September 3, 2015
Ooty Varkey, the baked delicacy synonymous with the Nilgiris, is all set to get the Geographical Indications (GI) tag. A society of its manufacturers has recently submitted an application seeking the GI tag at the registry.
The popular snack is distinct to the Nilgiris district. It is made from flour, sugar, salt and mava. It gets its distinct flavour from the water of the Nilgiris that is used to make the sweet snack.The varkey mix is baked in a firewood oven. The entire process takes around 12 hours. The product, which has a sweet and spicy variant, has to be consumed within 20 days.
According to the application submitted by the Ooty Varkey Producers Welfare Association, the British, who had been residing in the Nilgiris, made their own snacks, which included mostly biscuits, cakes and cookies. A new snack, similar to a cookie, was made in Udhagamandalam. The British ate this new cookie with their tea.
After Independence, the product became an important item in the bakeries of Udhagamandalam, Coonoor, Kothagiri, Manjoor and Gudalur. The production and sales also increased substantially.
“In spite of attempts made by the bakeries down in plains, the varkey made in those places does not match the taste of the Ooty Varkey,” the application said, adding “over the years its popularity has been growing among domestic and foreign tourists.”
India, as member of the WTO, enacted the GI Act in 1999, which came into effect in September 2003.
The GI tag is given to a product to indicate its specific geographical location or point of origin. The tag ensures none other than those authorised are allowed to use the product name.