CULINARY

Culinary Tour of South India

The food of India is as varied as the country, not only does it vary from state to state, but it also varies greatly within each state itself. In this culinary journey through Karnataka and Kerala, we showcase how different cultures, religions and the topography of a destination have all influenced the food of Kerala. You will discover how the Syrian Christian cuisine varies from that of the Mopilah (Muslim) cuisine from that of the Kodava Cuisine. You will learn about the influences that the British, Portuguese and Dutch had on the food of the region. You will see how different spices are grown, discover their medicinal qualities as well as which ones are used in different types of dishes and why and all the while, you will learn about this region, visit its temples, sights and have some time to relax and digest all you have discovered with a last few days on the backwaters and beach.

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Destinations Covered

Key Highlights

  • Discover the wide variety of the cuisines of Kerala from Kodava to Mopilah to Syrian Christian.
  • Visit homestays and learn, first-hand about home cooking, Kerala style.
  • Visit the colourful markets and fabulous Sri Meenakshi Temple in Mysore.
  • Discover how the world’s two most popular drinks, tea and coffee are grown and produced!
  • Visit spice plantations to discover how spices such as pepper, nutmeg, cardamom, vanilla and cinnamon are grown learn about their medicinal as well as culinary uses.
  • Learn how to bargain in the fish and spice markets, like a local.
  • Discover how other cultures such as the British, Portuguese and Dutch made their influence on Keralan cuisines.
  • Let’s not forget, you will visit some famous temples towns and destinations on the way!

Itinerary

DayActivityLocation
1After you arrive at your hotel, the rest of the day will be at leisure.Bangalore
2Drive to Mysore via Sri Rangapatnam. Check into the homestays.Mysore
3Spend the day exploring this charming town with its temples and varied fruit and vegetable markets. In the evening enjoy a hands on cookery experience to learn about Kodava Cuisine.Mysore
4Transfer Coorg, check into the hotel and then have a guided visit of a coffee plantation.Coorg
5Transfer to Wayanad. Check into the hotel and then explore how the nations favourite drink is grown with a tour of a tea plantation.Wayanad
6Morning at leisure. Afternoon visit of a tea factory with a tea tasting experience.Wayanad
7Transfer to Tellicherri, check into the hotel and then visit a local temple, if it’s the right season, you may also witness a Thayyem Performance.Tellicherri
8An early morning start to meet the fishermen bringing in their catch. Visit the fish markets and spice markets that this area is famous for. In the afternoon, enjoy a hands on cooking experience to learn about the Mopilah Cuisine.Tellicherri
9Transfer to Cochin. Check into the hotel and then explore this old fort. There are a variety of restaurants here serving Portuguese food which you may like to try.Cochin
10Visit the local market and the Chinese Fishing Nets. Visit a local family for lunch who will teach you about the local seafood specialties and how they cook it with local ingredients such as pepper and coconut. Evening at leisure.Cochin
11Transfer by road to Periyar. Rest of the day at leisure to enjoy this charming hotel.Periyar
12Periyar is famous for its spiced plantations. Explore these to find out how each different spice grows and the medicinal properties that each has as well as uses in cooking.Periyar
13Transfer to Alleppey, starting point to the backwaters. En route, visit a Syrian Christian Family for a traditional lunch.Alleppey
14Today, visit the local markets by tuk tuk, purchase the ingredients required for your final cookery demonstration in the evening with your charming family hosts.Alleppey
15Transfer the short distance to the backwaters for your cruise around this unique area.Backwaters
16A 45 minute journey to Marari Beach for your final day. Rest of the day at leisure.Marari
17Depart
Culinary Tour South India, Culinary Tour of South India
Culinary Tour South India, Culinary Tour of South India
Culinary Tour South India, Culinary Tour of South India

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For many travellers, Kerala is South India’s most serenely beautiful state. A slender coastal strip is shaped by its layered landscape: almost 600km of glorious Arabian Sea coast and beaches; a languid network of glistening backwaters; and the spice- and tea-covered hills of the Western Ghats.
Bangalore: In the 19th century it was known as the “Garden City” because of its many parks and gardens and it gradually began to attract grand residents. Since the 1990s it has been re-christened “India’s Silicon Valley” and has sprouted shopping malls, bars and fast-food joints – making it one of India’s more cosmopolitan cities, but it still has excellent traditional arts and crafts, some fine colonial buildings, and is an ideal urban gateway to the south of India. It’s altitude – 1,000 meters – means that its climate is relatively cool. Main sights include the Bull Temple, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, and the Dravidian-style Venkataramanasvami Temple.
Despite being the second-largest city in Karnataka, Mysore is still relatively small, easygoing and is famous for its silks and sandalwood. It is also a city of fine gardens, tree-lined boulevards, art galleries and an intriguing palace which, built between 1911-1912 harmoniously synthesizes the Hindu and the Saracenic styles of architecture with archways, domes, turrets, colonnades and sculptures, which are truly magnificent.
The Wayanad district of northern Kerala is blessed with mist-clad mountains and verdant valleys and is the perfect destination if you love the great outdoors. It is also an area of plantations and many crops are grown here including pepper, cardamom, coffee, tea and of course, spices. Although it is starting to get discovered, it is still unspoiled by mass tourism. While some larger hotels are now opening up here, it is the charming plantation bungalows and homestays which give you a true sense of this region and its friendly locals.
Although Tellicherry is not usually considered to be “on the tourist trail” that is actually part of its charm. This coastal town offers a glimpse of the genuine Keralan way of life and boasts an enchanting, long, sandy beach. The region is most famous for its Tellicherri Pepper, which at one time was more expensive than gold! The markets of Tellicherry are definitely worth a visit for their wonderful seafood from the fresh catches you can see being brought in by the fishermen each morning on the beaches but also for their vegetables and good-quality fabrics.
An aerial view of Kochi (formerly Cochin) and its surrounds provides a lush, vibrant green panorama of coconut trees, paddy fields, undulating hills, with meandering rivers and waterways. The city, made in three parts is located at the juncture where backwaters join the Arabian Sea. The Fort area is where most people flock to, and understandably so, it is made up of a mélange of buildings, left by the different influences on the region, Dutch, British and Portuguese and of course the Chinese Fishing Nets.
The Periyar WildLife Sanctuary is one of the 16 Project Tiger Reserves in India and is amongst the most picturesque wildlife sanctuaries in the world. It is one of India’s best parks for spotting wild elephants, bison, wild boar, gaur, deer and a variety of birds, although they do have tigers they are very rarely seen. The heart of this sanctuary is the 120-year-old dam where there are regular boat trips, which are hugely popular, often proving to be far more exciting and interesting an experience in people-watching than for wildlife enthusiasts.
The romantic and unique Backwaters of Kerala are made up of a labyrinth of canals and lakes that stream between Cochin and Quilon in the south. From the vastness of Lake Vembanad to quiet streams just large enough for a canoe, the Backwaters from the arteries through which rural daily life calmly flows – children splashing in the water, women washing clothes at the water’s edge, fishermen, neck-deep in water digging out fish with their feet, rice barges transporting coconuts and rice and, above all, an overriding sense of peace and tranquility that permeates every aspect of this region.
Marari is the best-known beach destination of Kerala, and rightly so, having kilometers of beautiful, white sandy beaches. However, it is still home to several charming fishing villages which are dotted along its shores and one can see the fishermen putting out on seemingly tiny boats for a night at sea. The beaches are lined with luscious green coconut trees which provide spots of shade under which one can shade, with a good book, from the midday sun.