Tasting tradition and modernity along the trade routes of southern India
India has the world’s most diverse regional cuisine; geography, climate, religion and trade have all played a role in its development. Spices have been key in the tangible expression of this culinary wealth and Indian cooks are acknowledged for their mastery in using these. However, spices have been important beyond the kitchen playing a key role in India’s economy for thousands of years, The Indian peninsula was the centre of a global trading network when Aristotle was just a boy and where there were spice sellers there were temples. Such is the ancient symbiotic relationship between temples and trade that it can be hard to decipher which came first.
This specially designed journey uses food, spices and history as the key to engaging with the social, cultural and environmental diversity of India. Our
travel takes us east to west along old trade routes that criss-cross the deep south of the Indian peninsula and were once equally plied by pilgrims
to mammon and holy devotion. We will explore the culinary culture, kitchens and cookery pots of Tamil Brahmins, Franco-Tamils, Chettinars, Malayalis,
Syrian Christians, Indo-Jewry, Indo-Muslims, royalty, gurus and gods.
In between tasting India through simple meals and elaborate feasts we will visit markets, explore the former French town of Pondicherry with its charming
colonial streetscapes and mystical presence of ‘ The Mother’, desert palaces, the temple town of Madurai, a spice plantation, Kerala’s famed backwaters
and historic Fort Cochin. Exploring bustling bazaars and sophisticated boutiques will offer significant opportunities to burn calories in between wonderful
meals shared with each other and a cast of charming Indian hosts.