While traveling, food is very often a focus for me. As far as I see it, food tells more about a country’s history and culture than most other things. So, when I travel I eat, and I eat a lot. This was true again on my last trip to India, but this time, I got to participate in actually seeing where the spices were coming from and make some of what I would be eating. On a visit to Tanshikar Spice Farm, we got to learn about several spices along with their histories, and then put them to good use while cooking our lunch. It was an unforgettable experience.
At Tanshikar Spice Farm, we got fully immersed and got to tour the property by owner, Gauri. The organic farm is located the the Netravali village in the rain forest of the Western Ghats. While we were only visiting for a few hours, visitors to the spice farm can stay longer in their ecological rest house. I’m already dreaming up a return stay.
After a snack of tea and cashews, Gauri took us around the property from spice to spice seeing if we could identify them on our own. Sometimes this was more difficult than we expected, but it was also a fun game to see just how much we know about what we’d be eating.
There was vanilla, pepper, turmeric, cardamom, and even her property’s honeybees. The tour weaved us in and out of the farm, which felt like another world. After our tour, we headed back to the kitchen and restaurant area, where we prepared to cook with Gauri.
I was looking forward to this cooking class because we learned we’d be making a traditional Indian vegetarian meal. Overall, the food I had discovered in Goa was very different from what I had had on my last trip. It was heavily based in fish due to its location to the sea. There was also a lot of meat on the menu, which I’m assuming is because the majority of the people in Goa are Catholic. But, Gauri’s cooking lesson would be more tailored to the food I enjoyed most.
We started out making chapatis, a favorite of mine, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out how easy they were to make. I can see them being a chore when you constantly have to make them, but for a short time, they were fun. I can see myself making them at home instead of buying packed ones. We also made sprouted moong bean gravy and Goan dal, perfect for eating with the chapati. I loved watching Gauri make the dishes and lending her a hand. I’m not often too comfortable in the kitchen, but this was a really fun experience.
Then, we sat and feasted on the food we made, as well as some additions from the kitchen. It was, without a doubt, the best meal I had during my time in Goa. Before saying good-bye, we stopped at the farm’s shop and bought some spices. I loved being able to support Gauri and her family, as well as being able to bring home a piece of the farm back home with me.
It was the most special experience to spend a morning at Tanshikar Spice Farm, and I would easily go back and stay for longer next time. If you find yourself in Goa, you absolutely must head here. Even just meeting Gauri is worth it, but make sure you stay for the farm tour and lunch!
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I was a guest of Tanshikar Spice Farm as a part of the #Escape2Goa trip which was sponsored by the Goa Tourism Board. As always, all views and opinions are my own.