8 Days Kerala Ayurvedic Cooking Holiday in India

  • Haritha Farms, The Pimenta Spice Garden Bungalows, Kadalikad Post,686670 Kerala, India

Healthy Vegetarian Cooking Holidays in India

The Pimenta believes in a holistic approach to food. They want to share the art of our local cooking and set it in the context of our rich and diverse cultural history. Learning through hands-on cooking is one thing, but they want to connect you to our rich history and culture for an experience quite unlike any other. These eight days and seven nights will be filled with trips to exotic local markets, hill stations, local craft workers and artisans where the fusion of food and life can be seen and experienced at every level.

Highlights

  • Tea trail and spice tour
  • 5 hands-on cooking classes
  • Enjoy a market and a farm visit
  • Visit to a specialty cookery shop
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • 2 arts / crafts tour
  • 5 days with instruction
  • English
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Pimenta spice garden bungalows

We have an idea of opening up a place in our garden for travelers, which is in the heart of The Pimenta, formerly known as Vadakkumkur. We named it "The Pimenta" and it is a place where you can genuinely experience the culture, cuisine, and life of the Kerala Midlands using the principles of sustainable as well as responsible tourism. Double rooms with private bathroom are available for single occupancy and double occupancy. Double rooms have either twin beds or a double bed.

Amenities

  • Clean and comfortable cottages
  • Double room with twin or double bed
  • Filtered water that is safe to drink
  • Hot water using solar power
  • Insect screens and fans
  • Located in the shade of forest garden
  • Overlooking lush native forests
  • Private verandahs
  • Separate from communal area
  • Traditional style

Day 1, Sunday - Arrival, introduction

  • You will arrive at The Pimenta before lunch.
  • Light lunch.
  • When you feel fully refreshed, the hosts will begin their introduction. They will acquaint you to the regional history of the Kerala cuisine, talking about techniques, utensils and the fabulous range of local ingredients that you will be using while cooking.
  • Introduction to the local spice garden.
  • Dinner.

Day 2, Monday - Cooking class

  • Breakfast of local produce.
  • Cooking session.
  • Explore the regions markets together and have a chance to visit the two important local places of worship.
  • A ride along the river will give you a glimpse into our way of life; how our culture and religions intermingle with our food and cuisine.

Day 3, Tuesday - Cooking class

  • A relaxing cooking day.
  • Take the time to rest and relax.
  • A day to reflect, ponders, explore our exotic gardens and ask questions at your leisure.
  • A cooking session either for lunch or dinner.

Day 4, Wednesday - Cooking class

  • Breakfast as usual.
  • Cooking session for dinner.
  • Light lunch.
  • Explore the tea gardens.
  • Be back for dinner.

Day 5, Thursday - Pottery workshop

  • An exciting day as you are going to be working with clay in a studio pottery workshop, the only one in Kerala! This is a chance for you to work with your hands to make (and if you would like, to buy) terracotta and art pottery.
  • Eat locally, a traditional Kerala lunch from the region with ingredients sourced locally.
  • Enjoy Kerala tea and snacks in the afternoon.
  • Head for home to have a dinner.

Day 6, Friday - Cooking class

  • Enjoy a healthy and satisfying breakfast.
  • Resume our cooking activities, further developing our skills.
  • Explore in more depth the local food industry.
  • See some other great sights, including the unforgettable truck painting center - a colorful feature of our local landscape and very famous in the region.

Day 7, Saturday - Cooking class

  • Final day of cooking, an opportunity to perfect and refine your new skills and to feel proud and confident as cooks, with Indian Home Cooking.
  • Shop for spices grown in the region, with lots of hints and tips to help you spot quality ingredients.
  • Buy any kitchen wares you wish to take from here, to help you to continue with your cooking adventures once home.
  • Shop for the fine, natural, locally made fabrics. The focus of the shopping will be ethical, handmade, and value for money.
  • If you enjoy spending time in nature, we can have a picnic lunch in the woods on this day.

Day 8, Sunday - Departure

  • The Pimenta hopes this has been an invigorating, inspiring and enjoyable week of cooking, learning and sharing together.
  • They will be bidding you a fond farewell after breakfast. Till you meet again!

The Kerala midlands are the place where spices, food and fruits were naturally grown in homestead forest gardens that were eventually lost to rubber plantations. Spices were moved up to the hills where the forests were cut and plantations were established, damaging the ecosystems in a significant way (monoculture plantations e.g. tea, coffee, pepper and rubber).

At the Pimenta, Haritha Farm, we are making an effort to bring back the glory of the Midlands by establishing a homestead forest garden (with bio organic farming) and growing spices in their natural habitat. This is quite different and environmentally more sensible than growing spices and crops in the cleared forest ranges in the mountains or the dense mangrove forests in the backwaters as a monoculture.

Activities
  • Boating nearby
  • Cooking classes
  • Diving nearby
  • Fishing nearby
  • Hiking nearby
  • Kayaking nearby
  • Mountain walking / trekking nearby
  • Swimming nearby
General
  • Beach nearby
  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • River nearby
Services
  • Free bottled water
  • Internet access
  • Library
  • Local market
  • Wireless internet

During this hands-on private cooking holiday, you will have the opportunity to indulge into a variety of eastern Kerala specialties, as well as other Indian dishes, home cooked with the flavor and aroma of fresh farm grown spices and coconut. The food is tasty, healthy, and vegetarian. The Pimenta tries to incorporate organic food as far as possible and local grown food, is also a priority. The coffee served is farm grown. You can make your own coffee, tea or fresh lime soda in the communal area. It is possible to have green tea as well as various herbal teas, and seasonal tropical fruits are always available.

  • Climb local hills and enjoy spectacular flora, fauna and village life views
  • Explore Kumarakom, Munnar,Thekkady, Idukki ,Vagamon, Alleppey, Vaikom and Cochin
  • Get lost in tea gardens, pineapple groves, rice fields and working rubber plantations
  • Swim in the fresh water river
  • Visit an elephant training centre
  • 2 arts / crafts tour
  • 5 cooking classes
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Beverages with meals
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Market visit, farm visit
  • Visit to specialty cookery shop
  • Airfare
  • Any taxes to be levied
  • Optional activities
  • Taxi fare for pick up and drop (can be arranged on request at actual costs from airport, railway station and destinations nearby)
  • Tips

Arrival by airplane

Please arrive at Cochin International Airport (COK).

Arrival by train

Please arrive at Ernakulam Junction or at Kottayam Railway Station.

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 10% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

Testimonials

  • Review by Kristinatengelin from Gothenburg, Sweden
    10 out of 10

    "My sisters and I did the Curry Magic and had the most wonderful time. Jacob was a very generous and kind host and organized many interesting things for us to do in order to experience the real Kerala and the surrounding area. The cooking sessions were both fun and educational, and - above all - ultimately turned into delicious meals. The spice garden itself was a perfect escape from the buzz and the heat, and so we were able to enjoy some leisure time on the porch. The accommodation was very comfortable and newly renovated. Jacob also helped us with recommendations and helpful advice for other parts of our journey. All in all, we were very happy with our stay at the Pimenta and will definitely come back again!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Leicestershire, United Kingdom
    10 out of 10

    "What an amazing find and the perfect introduction to our first trip to India. Jacob helped us out when two days before we were due to arrive in Kerala our accommodation plans fell through, and we were looking for somewhere a little bit unusual, rural but still comfortable - and ideally with amazing food. Pimenta was all of these things and more. Jacob is an amazing host, and gets the balance of looking after us vs making sure we had enough space to relax absolutely spot on. The bungalows are the perfect place to rest, and are clean, cool and comfortable. The food was delicious and plentiful, made even more enjoyable by Jacob's explanations of what we were eating and why (and his patience throughout an afternoon of cooking with my husband!). The best though was the range of activities - Jacob quickly assessed what we would be interested in, and was able to offer a tailored itinerary at a very reasonable rate. We visited spice harvesting, fabulous markets, took a river boat ride, and visit local farms. Absolutely spot on for some smallholders from the UK looking to visit our Indian equivalents! All in all a perfect start to our trip."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Natalia A. from Melbourne, Australia
    10 out of 10

    "We had a fantastic time at Pimenta. Jacob was a very kind and hospitable host. We enjoyed learning to cook meals, sharing them, as well as relaxing. Would recommend this to anyone as an experience."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Adelaide, Australia
    10 out of 10

    "This small scale "retreat" was the only accommodation we had in India with proper mosquito screening in the bedrooms. The Wi-Fi is excellent. Jacob's food is delicious and always freshly cooked. The location is very quiet. Jacob prefers guests who stay several days at least, making a serene and restful ambience. I might suggest Jacob to have a local map ready for guests to orient themselves while staying here, perhaps a logbook too (for guests to record interesting experiences while staying here). Many thanks Jacob, your establishment is uniquely restful!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Jenny K. from Adelaide, Australia
    10 out of 10

    "My two friends and I decided to try a two day cook and stay at the Pimenta on our month long India trip. It was well worth the tour to Central Kerala. We stayed in a cozy bungalow, surrounded by beautiful spice plants and greenery. Jacob was a wonderful host, which guided us through two nights of cooking the most incredible dinners.On top of that he took us on a tour of the local markets out for a delicious thali lunch, and took us to see the most talented truck painters, which really blew our minds. I highly recommend the trip to Pimenta, whether you're looking for a longer cooking course or even just a few days of learning some really great recipes and relaxing!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Australia
    10 out of 10

    "This small scale "retreat" was the only accommodation we had in India with proper mosquito screening in the bedrooms. The Wi-Fi is excellent. Jacob's food is delicious and always freshly cooked. The location is very quiet. Jacob prefers guests who stay several days at least, making for a serene and restful ambiance. I might suggest Jacob have a local map ready for guests to orient themselves while staying here, perhaps a logbook too (for guests to record interesting experiences while staying here). Many thanks Jacob, your establishment is uniquely restful!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Danya G.
    10 out of 10

    "The Pimenta cooking holiday was a wonderful experience! I stayed there for five days in February 2015 and enjoyed the lovely bungalows, peaceful garden setting, and excellent hospitality. Jacob, the host and owner, was very attentive and flexible in responding to what I was interested in cooking, and what I was interested in exploring around the area. We visited several small towns, went on a spice walk, and visited one of the tea plantations up in the hills. I would highly recommend going there for anyone interested in learning about southern Indian cooking and wanting an experience outside the touristy areas."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Bournemouth, UK
    10 out of 10

    "I've never eaten so much wonderful vegetarian food in my life, let alone such great food cooked by myself! My mum and I spent a cooking holiday at Pimenta with Jacob and during that time he made us feel like family, not just guests. Not only was the cooking great fun, I learned a lot about the spices we were using and how best to bring out their flavors, and this course really opened my eyes to vegetarian cooking. Pimenta's bungalows are divine with lovely attention to detail, pristinely kept, and best of all, unlimited hot water! It was also my mum's 50th birthday when we were staying at Pimenta and Jacob bought her flowers and cake and he also took us to a lovely restaurant for dinner - true five-star personal service! I would thoroughly recommend a stay here. We explored the local surroundings each day (from truck painters to a rubber band factory), took some time to relax, away from the tourist hoards in Cochin, and we ate lots (sometimes too much!) incredible food, cooked by ourselves under Jacob's instruction. While I love my tandoori chicken, I never knew veg dishes could be so tasty! Great teacher, great place. Thanks Jacob, we had a lovely time!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Bron and Chris from UK
    9 out of 10

    "Hello Jacob, it was good to see your new website. I think it gives a clear picture of your place. We have so many memories of our stay with you and enjoy cooking the recipes that we learnt. Our best wishes to you, your mother, and Manu."

    The Pimenta website, edited

Kerala, India

The Pimenta is a family-owned green business in the midlands of Kerala, providing cooking holidays and authentic Keralan experience.

from --

8 days / 7 nights

Availability

This vacation is available all year round with arrival on Sunday.

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