On the way to our next destination we were savoring a great meal at a small roadside restaurant. I ordered traditional tapioka (yellow in the picture above) with a non-veg dish. I was eating happily and praying I wouldn’t get sick. (Which I didn’t)
A few hours later we stopped at a spice garden and learned more about the local spices. It was slightly touristy but very interesting and I learned a lot. As the climate in Kerala is excellent for growing spices much of Indias famous flavors comes from this area. If you visit Kerala you must stop by to see one of these places.
The garden honestly looked more like a forest than a garden. High trees of many kinds were planted to give shade to the sensitive spices. The air tasted organic and fresh.
A English speaking lady showed us around and let us taste almost everything they grow. In between the guiding she asked intriguing questions in that very typical Indian way. “Where are you from? What kind of Christian are you? When will you get married?”
Many foreigners find these questionings/interrogations in Indian culture frustrating, and it is not strange. But if you use it in the right way I think you can have a lot of use of it. When I get brave enough I will totally start asking the same nosy questions to everyone I meet. So much fun!
Ok, lets see if I remember everything properly. The picture above is coffee. Just like tea it does not have any special smell or taste until it is properly processed. The fresh beans did not taste very good.
The picture below is pepper. White, black and green pepper all comes from the same plant, it is just the time of plucking and process that differentiates them. The fresh pepper fruit, green pepper, tasted really good.
The pepper flower was small and very neutral looking. It is pollinated by rain water dripping on it, and therefore there is no need to have a special smell or taste to attract insects. This bush below is cardamom, the spice westerners mostly associate with Christmas is used all through the year in India. The flowers and fruits are places low on the plant, just over ground level.
Cardamom is enclosed in green capsule with the black seeds inside. In Indian cuisine the whole capsule is crushed and used, which gives an excellent taste. The only cardamom we use in Europe is the inside of the fruit, why is this?
As we were led deeper into the garden we tasted a wide array of different leaves. One of them burned out our tongues which with a taste so strong we couldn’t feel anything afterwards. Like a natural organic cought drop.