“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
– Virginia Woolf
Truer words weren’t said, for what is life without food? Food does more than just give us nutrition – From the fanciest cuisine decked in truffles and gold to the simplest home cooked meal – each meal is a labour of love or a visual journey. Living in a country which is a melting pot of cultures and traditions, we don’t have to venture very far to taste something drastically different than what we’re usually used to, for example, while North Indian cuisine has strong Central Asian influences and heavily relies on spices, dry fruits and milk and yogurt where as North Eastern cuisine focuses on balancing contradictory flavours with the minimum use of spices and oil. Today we’re going to take you through a quick culinary journey that reflects the diversity of the large umbrella that is Indian cuisine.
Tea Nest Nightingale is a quaint cottage amidst tea gardens and lush hills, the cuisine served here is influenced by its surroundings – after the tea tasting session (which is a must-do!), the staff serves a seven course meal where each course is flavoured with an element of tea like tea braised spaghetti or pickled tea leaves. They believe that heating the food destroys its nutrients and natural enzymes and thus also have an unprocessed farm fresh food menu which includes innovative dishes that are both healthy and dishes. Another culinary experience to put on your itinerary is a visit to the Kookal Vineyards, which is the only vineyard in the Nilgiris. Witness the grape harvest and definitely indulge in pairing luxury chocolates and tea blends by the gourmet brand ‘Bresserts’ which originated here.
The cuisine at this cottage in a remote village in Sri Lanka is prepared in the traditional way using clay pots and firewood. There is no menu here, rather meals are prepared according to what is in season and most fresh. Meat is not served much because it is hard to source quality produce locally but fish is a different story – surrounded by lakes and only 30 km from the coast, there is a range of sea and fresh water fish available throughout the year. Vegetarians are spoilt for choice too- there is a wide selection of grains, pulses, seeds, vegetables and fruits that are preparedin ways you may have never tasted before.
Punjab is a state known for having the warmest and kindest people and their cuisine is a translation of that vibe on a plate. This farmstay in Amritsar, is all about giving you a taste of true Punjab – your cottage is in the middle of blooming green fields, your food is served to you on a charpai or by the fields where you can take in the stunning views of the setting sun or glittering star-studded skies. Your lunch comprises of traditional and world-famous dishes like lassi, sarson ka saag and makke di roti, kheer made of sugarcane, raita, stuffed naan, butter chicken/ paneer and dal makhni with white butter – a high caloric affair but most certainly worth every bite.
This palatial retreat offers a range of local and international cuisine to suit all tastes, and in a range of settings that show off the hidden jewels of the palace – you can choose to dine in your room, by the pool, or whichever part of the palace takes your fancy, the ‘Hawa Gokra’, ‘Phool Bagh’ and ‘Durbar Courtyard’ are ideal to accomodate huge parties. You can enjoy a tailor-made meal at the ‘Lounge Balcony’ or indulge in the regional cuisines at ‘Janana Courtyard’. This really is a foodie’s dream come true.
Which one is your favourite?