15 Days Tastes of South India Cookery Holidays

  • Chennai - Chettinad - Palakkad - Thalassery - Allepey - Thekkady - Cochin

Overview

Culinary Vacations in India

Start your culinary journey in the bustling city of Hyderabad renown for its heritage sites and mouthwatering biryani. Fly down to the temple town of Madurai then move on to Chettinad where expert chefs will have you serving up spicy dishes enjoyed in Tamil Nadu. Pluck and brew your own tea in Munnar, visit Thekkady's spice and pepper plantations, and sample fresh fish on board a rice barge on Kerala's backwaters. End your trip in the charming colonial town of Cochin, the center of the spice trade.

Highlights

  • Cooking demonstrations and classes
  • Food tours, lobster fishing, and market visits
  • Cook outdoors on Kerala's backwaters and in Indian families kitchens
  • Visit the Spice Route, spice plantations, and spice bazaars
  • Explore historic and heritage sites
  • 13 nights accommodation
  • 7 days with instruction
  • English
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Accommodation is an integral part of the travel experience. Trip Feast aims to provide you with accommodation which best represents the diversity of their tours. Trip Feast has spent a lot of time researching accommodation with the best character, as they want you to get the best cultural experience out of where you stay as well as being as comfortable as possible. You will stay at high-end hotels, heritage properties, and homestays.

Day 1: Arrival, free time

  • Arrive into Chennai International Airport (MAA).
  • Your Trip Feast representative will greet you at the airport for transfer to your hotel.
  • Freshen up and relax.
  • Depending on time of arrival, sightseeing can be arranged, including a visit to the impressive San Thom Cathedral, and a drive along Marina beach, the second longest beach in the world.
  • The evening is free to relax.
  • Overnight in Chennai.

Day 2: Transfer, free time, cooking class

  • After breakfast, transfer to Chennai Domestic Terminal (MAA) for short flight to Trichy.
  • Your representative will greet you on arrival with further transfer by road to Chettinad (2 hours).
  • Check into the stunning Visalam resort, hidden away in tranquil surroundings, this property blends old-age elegance with modern-day comforts.
  • There is plenty of open space and an open-air swimming pool.
  • You have the afternoon to unwind, before your cooking class with the expert chefs. You will learn about Chettinad food and what makes it distinctive.
  • Enjoy an excellent meal based on what you prepared in class.
  • Rest of the evening is free to relax.
  • Overnight in Chettinad.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast and dinner.

Chettinad food cooking class - day 2

You will learn about Chettinad food and what makes it distinctive. Although dishes are typically very spicy, these can of course be toned down. Exciting Chettinar dishes include the fried murrell, a delicately spiced lamb dish, and robust curries with hints of fresh pepper and raw mango. Chettinad cuisine is typically spicy and pungent, and consists of mainly non-vegetarian food.

The dishes contain freshly ground masalas, and often topped with a boiled egg, which is usually considered an essential part of a meal. They also use a variety of sun-dried meats and salted vegetables, reflecting the dry environment of the region. Meat dishes are restricted to fish, prawn, lobster, crab, chicken, and lamb. People from this region do not eat beef and pork.

Day 3: Excursion

  • After a sumptuous breakfast, set off to explore some of the ancient temples unique to this area.
  • Afterwards, for lunch, you will drop in to a local family to enjoy a traditional Chettinad meal.
  • You will also get the chance to interact with them and learn about Chettinad / Tamil culture.
  • Later, visit Chettinad mansions, which are unique in their layout and design, especially the use of space.
  • Return to the hotel for a relaxing evening meal.
  • Overnight in Chettinad.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 4: Transfer

  • Set off early for Palakkad in Kerala.
  • Drive through towns, villages and lush tropical countryside.
  • Stop off en-route for lunch.
  • Arrive mid-afternoon, and check into the Tharavad Heritage Homestay which has served as an ancestral home of the Kandath family and dates back almost 200 years.
  • It is set in the lush rice paddies of rural Kerala.
  • Rest and wander around the local village and countryside.
  • In the evening, sit back and enjoy dinner with your hosts, who will serve up some mouthwatering Keralan dishes, all served on banana leaf.
  • Savor some of the delicious coconut and tamarind chutneys, and chat about everything from food to culture and politics.
  • Overnight in Palakkad.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast and dinner.

Day 5: Market visit, cooking class, excursion

  • After breakfast, you will visit the local market to buy vegetables.
  • After scouring the market for vegetables and spices, you will then proceed to another home, where our hostess, who is an expert cook, will give a cooking class using the ingredients you've just bought.
  • After cooking, you can enjoy the vegetarian sadya, lunch served on banana leaf.
  • Later in the day you will visit the ancient fort of Hyder Ali, and watch pottery making.
  • Finally, you visit Kalpathy, one of the oldest settlements of Tamil Brahmins in Kerala. Learn about the history of this settlement and the Vedic traditions still practised there.
  • Return to Palakkad and overnight.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 6: Transfer, market visit, cooking class

  • After breakfast, proceed to Thalassery.
  • You will arrive at a beautiful old colonial style mansion, your home for the next two nights, overlooking the blue Arabian Sea.
  • Enjoy a refreshing drink and unwind.
  • After lunch, your hostess, Mrs. Moosa, will accompany you to the market to buy ingredients for your evening cooking class.
  • After tucking into your delicious dinner, the rest of the evening is free at your leisure.
  • Overnight in Thalassery.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Cooking class with Mrs. Moosa - day 6

Mrs. Moosa is an internationally renowned culinary expert, who has featured in many culinary magazines, as well as the BBC. Her cooking style is an intoxicating blend of Keralan and Muslim influences. You will learn how to cook her infamous Tellicherry Pepper. During the class, she will show you how to cook various dishes, including meat, seafood and vegetable dishes, as well as rice, south Indian bread and dessert.

Day 7: Excursions, free time

  • Today is a day of sightseeing and discovering the fascinating sites of Thalassery, including Thalassery (or Tellicherry) Fort.
  • After lunch, stop off at the hand loom weaving center to see how some of the finest textiles are produced, as well as the beedi, Indian cigarette, rolling centers.
  • You will have free time to wander the old spice markets.
  • Later, return to your homestay for a delicious home-cooked meal.
  • Overnight in Thalassery.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 8: Transfer, lobster fishing

  • Early morning, transfer to train station to catch the train to Ernakulam.
  • Enjoy a tasty breakfast on board the train. A typical south Indian vegetarian breakfast consists of idli, vada, and sambar.
  • You will be greeted on arrival by a Trip Feast representative and transferred to Alleppey, the home of Kerala's splendid backwaters.
  • You will be staying at the superb Vembanad House, where a delicious lunch will be awaiting you.
  • Late evening, go out in dug-out canoes for lobster fishing and soak up the tranquility of this place.
  • Your host will serve up fantastic seafood, including freshly caught lobsters, crab, Keralan-spiced fish, and a delicious vegetable stew served with appam, a bowl-shaped pancake made from rice flour.
  • Overnight in Alleppey.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 9: Fishing, free time

  • Have a leisurely start to the day with a filling breakfast served outdoors by the lake.
  • Later board the houseboat for your ride through Kerala's enchanting backwaters.
  • You will see birdlife, rice barges making their way along the creeks and Chinese cantilever fishing nets.
  • Stop off for some fishing, and if lucky, you will get to taste freshly caught fish for lunch.
  • You can watch the onboard chef prepare Karimeen (pearlspot) Fry.
  • Early evening return to your homestay.
  • Evening free to interact with the family or simply chill out.
  • Overnight in Alleppey.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 10: Transfer, free time, cooking demonstration

  • After breakfast, drive to Thekkady, the spice capital of India.
  • Arrive at lunchtime at the beautiful setting of the Spice Village.
  • This mini-village recreated in the lush tropical forest of Thekkady is a nature lover's paradise.
  • You will be staying in traditionally constructed cottages, with perfectly integrated modern comforts.
  • Afternoon is free to explore the local surroundings, take a light walk, or do some bird-watching.
  • In the evening, you will watch a cooking demonstration outdoors.
  • Your chef, Velayuthan, will unveil a few (but only a few!) of his South Indian cooking secrets, using the freshest local spices and ingredients.
  • You can choose to eat out in the long verandah or in the rustic wooden dining hall.
  • Overnight in Thekkady.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast and dinner.

Day 11: Excursions, spice plantation visit

  • Early morning breakfast, then set off for a boat ride on Lake Periyar.
  • Look out for local wildlife (elephants, deer, sloth bears) coming to the lake for water.
  • Afterwards, go for a jungle walk (2 hours).
  • Return to the Spice Village for lunch.
  • In the afternoon, you will visit one of Thekkady's many spice plantations.
  • Learn all about the spices that are grown here - pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves and more.
  • Return to your cottage and have dinner in the village.
  • Overnight in Thekkady.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast and dinner.

Day 12: Transfer, cooking demonstration, spice plantation visit, free time

  • Transfer from Thekkady to Cochin.
  • Stop en-route at Kottayam for lunch at a traditional Christian homestay.
  • You can join your host in the kitchen as she prepares a mouthwatering South Indian platter of meat and vegetarian dishes.
  • After lunch, take a walking tour of the owner's spice and rubber plantations.
  • Continue on to Cochin.
  • You will be staying in the Tea Bungalow, an ambient heritage property in the colonial area of Fort Cochin.
  • Evening free at your leisure.
  • Choose from the many restaurant options available in Fort Cochin.
  • Proceed to Cochin for overnight.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast and lunch.

Day 13: Excursion, cooking class, cruise, free time

  • After breakfast, set off on a walking tour of Cochin (2 hours) wandering its narrow lanes encountering echoes of its colonial past.
  • Also visit one of India's few synagogues in Jew Street.
  • For lunch, you will be going somewhere very special.
  • Trip Feast's friend, Nimmy Paul, has been featured in many Indian and international food magazines, and is renowned for her unique south Indian recipes. She will conduct a cooking class, followed by lunch, either in the garden or in her cozy home.
  • After leaving Nimmy's, you will make your way to the harbor for a sunset cruise observing port life and Kerala's famous Chinese cantilever fishing nets.
  • Evening is free.
  • Overnight in Cochin.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast.

Day 14: Departure

  • Breakfast, then transfer to airport at appropriate time.
  • If you have a flight later in the day, then you could explore more of Cochin or browse the market for handicrafts and wares.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast.

Thalassery tour - day 7

Perched on the Malabar coast, Thalassery was much sought and fought after by foreign invaders. Famous for its black pepper and cardamom, the fort and the seaport were established by the British East India Company, as Thalassery became a key part of the Spice Route. You will also see St John's Anglican Church, dating back almost 150 years, alongside mosques and temples, revealing the cultural diversity of this small town.

Tour of local temples - day 3

Tamil Nadu was once ruled by the Chola Dynasty (9-13th centuries), who constructed some of the most ornate temples in South India. Dedicated to various Hindu gods, these temples contain intricate life-size carvings, beautiful murals and are a display of master craftsmanship.

This holiday will take place in south India.

  • 5 lunches
  • 6 dinners
  • 13 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • Climate Care contribution
  • Cooking classes with expert chefs
  • Daily breakfast
  • Drivers and guides
  • Entrance fees to sites and parks
  • Ground transport
  • Internal flight
  • Train transport (Thalassery - Ernakulam)
  • Additional meals and drinks
  • Additional transfers
  • International airfare
  • Optional activities
  • Personal expenses

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Chennai International Airport (MAA). Trip Feast will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.

For information about the booking conditions, please send Trip Feast an inquiry.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 70 days before arrival.

Testimonials

  • Review by David from UK

    "I was really blown away by the high quality of Serbias food (and drink) and the warmth and hospitality of it`s people. The tour was well-paced, our guide very knowledgeable about the history, local customs and of course the food of the areas we visited. And the visit with the druid was really something special. Thank you for an all round fantastic trip."

    Trip Feast website, edited

  • Review by Anupy Singla Gupta from USA

    "I just took the food Tour of Kerala and Malabar Coast and it was purely unforgettable. The accommodation was superb as was the food and hospitality. I essentially came back feeling like a baby hippo - that should tell you that you need to take this tour as soon as possible!"

    Trip Feast website, edited

  • Review by Jeanine from UK

    "It is not surprising that UNESCO has added Mexican cuisine to its list of cultural treasures worth preserving. The variety and quality of Oaxacan food is awe inspiring and ranges from street food to creative chefs in top class restaurants. All aspiring young chefs should visit the Sunday market in Tlacolula, a real feast for the eyes and the palette. We have learnt a huge amount on this tour about life in Mexico and the problems of Mexicos indigenous people."

    Trip Feast website, edited

Putney, United Kingdom

Trip Feast is providing small group and tailor-made tours with a culinary twist.

Speaks English

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15 days / 14 nights

Departure:
Sunday December 3, 2017
(15 days / 14 nights)

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