“Mula pal kainechto kola pal”. The meaning of this is after mother’s milk its coconut flower milk. There was a time in Kerala kids were given fresh toddy or unfermented toddy, when they were ready for external feeding after breastfeeding. It is one of the superfoods. Kerala governments law for extracting and selling toddy was restricted in the year 1957 to only licensed person and they have to give a particular amount to the society where toddy is collected and later distributed to local Kallu shop (local bars which specialize only in toddy and serve it along with delicious dishes). Now toddy is being consumed in every other household.
Toddy is more commonly referred to as Kallu in Kerala. Kallu is also offered to God. While performing Theyyam(a form of worship in Kerala), the person who keeps a fast for god for almost a day only consumes Kallu or tender coconut water.
Toddy can be served as neera which is sweet with no-alcohol or basically fresh sap which can be sealed in tetra packs, Traditionally people added lime(chunnab in malayalam/ chuna in hindi) to fresh toddy so fermentation doesn’t happen. Naturally, it cannot become as strong as wine. In the early days, wine was consumed by the name of arrack which needs distillation.
But this lockdown drastically affected the Toddy business. The demand was as usual but there was no supply as no one was producing it. After nearly two months, toddy workers are now returning to business as usual, tapping an average of 300,000 liters per day. The result is a tasty fermented drink with a shelf life of just 24 hours (if left unrefrigerated); if kept longer than that then the sourness can become unbearable.