|Delicious food at every meal at Paradia Plantation Retreat|
The lush landscape of Kerala is a stark contrast to northern India’s dry deserts. The famous backwaters reach right to the edge of Kochi. Located in the middle of the Kerala coast, Kochi, also known as Cochin, is an alluring city with a splendid architectural legacy reflecting its wealth and importance as a centre for commerce going back nearly two thousand years. A walk down the ‘spice street’ will reveal that little has changed; Kerala spices are still highly sought after commodities to this day thanks to the intensity of their flavour.
There was a time in world history when a simple peppercorn was worth more than its weight in gold. Kerala’s abundant spices were coveted by people all over the world and merchants from as far away as Europe and China made there way to Cochin to buy cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, and other flavoursome spices that made food taste better in earlier times before the advent of today’s seemingly universal presence of gourmet dining experiences.
|Great views accompany great meals at Paradisa Plantation Retreat|
Just as the climate and landscape are different from other parts of India, so too is the cuisine. South Indian cuisine is a cooking style that has been refined over centuries to produce a delicate balance in flavour, in no small part thanks to the herbs and spices grown in the region. Vegetarian cuisine reaches its apex here; the variety of vegetarian dishes is enormous and enormously appealing. As with ‘Chinese food’, what is known as Indian food in Australia is only a very small and rather predictable array of the country’s most famous dishes, many of them coming from the north. South Indian cuisine offers many possibilities to try dishes unknown in Australia, using local fish and produce that do not exist Down Under. A simple thoren, a mixture of grated beetroot and coconut infused with herbs and spices, is a basic dish that sets the example; there are many, many others.
Most of the spices of Kerala grow in the highlands known as the Western Ghats, where tea plantations exist next to the spice plantations. Gourmet travellers interested in staying in the mountains and enjoying fine dining at the same time would be very happy at Paradisa Plantation Retreat, a private compound of tastefully decorated cottages located near the Thekkady Tiger Reserve. Paradisa’s cosmopolitan owner takes great pride in providing guests with exceptionally delicious meals, sometimes preceded by a short recital by dancers showcasing traditional theatrical dances of South India, sometimes followed by lively conversation and interesting tales. Located on a private spice plantation, the Paradisa cottages are situated at the edge of a cliff with superb views of the valley below.
Paradisa Plantation Retreat is located about four hours’ drive from Kochi International Airport. Transfers by private car are easily arranged; travellers can be met at the airport and taken directly to the property. Deluxe tour operator Indian Vistas can arrange a stay at Paradisa Plantation Retreat as well as the transport to get there in addition to all other aspects of a visit to Kerala and other parts of India, too.
Kochi International Airport is one of India’s nine airports approved for the issue of visas on arrival for travellers from certain countries who have pre-registered online and received an authorisation number for presentation at the airport. This new initiative of the Government Of India should see visitor numbers increase as people who like spontaneity in their travels can now visit India more easily. Air India offers flights from many cities in India to Kochi.
More information about Kerala’s spicy history and modern-day attractions can be found on the websites of India Tourism and Kerala Tourism.
|Herbs and spices and fresh produce are the essence of South Indian cuisine|