India is the world's largest grower, user and exporter of culinary spices, and it's a wonderful place to immerse yourself in the aromas and tastes of a huge variety of spices. It's great to travel with a purpose, and Herbie and Liz can help you put together an itinerary that will take you to spice markets and farms in India, as well as including iconic tourist destinations that mustn't be missed.
Contact us for more information.
Recipes mentioned may be accessed by clicking on the link shown. You may also wish to click on an image for a larger view.
Upon our arrival in Cochin we went on a late afternoon water cruise, passing by the historic fishing nets that were introduced by the Chinese many centuries ago. Cochin was actually named after Cochin in China, the place many of the early traders came from, however the Indians now tend to refer to Cochin as Kochi.
The next day we went around to Fort Cochin by road. Some of our group members had a turn at raising these ancient, counter-balanced nets. Judging by their catch we did suggest they keep their day jobs back in Australia.
In the Ernakulam markets in Cochin little spice traders sell a selection of the most commonly used spices such as cinnamon, ginger, pepper, cumin and coriander.
A pile of beautifully intact blade mace is enough to make any gourmet's mouth water. We rarely see blades as large as this because they are very delicate and invariably get broken in transit.
A highlight of the tour was having a cooking demonstration in a typical Keralan home. We were indeed privileged to receive such generous hospitality and to be introduced to the way many dishes are prepared at home. We also had some laughs when Belinda learnt to grate coconut.
View all the wonderful recipes from India
This buttercurd curry looks fantastic, smells orgasmic and is delicious poured over rice in the same manner as sambar or rasam.
When we asked how they achieved such beautifully shredded cabbage, we were treated to a cabbage shredding demonstration in which the housewife simply made many quick deft cuts, criss-crossing the surface and turning the cabbage as she worked around it. Rolf decided to stay with his food processor.
This mixed vegetable curry is called 'avial' and is a wonderful accompaniment to any south Indian repast.
A feature of the Alleppey waterways south of Cochin is the myriad of canals.
Coconut Lagoon resort is located among these canals, one even arrives at reception in a charming barge.
True pepper from the Piper nigrum vine is native to the south of India. Plump, fully-formed but as yet unripe peppercorns hang on vines in 'spice gardens' on the way to Munnar.