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Culinary Tour to India

Duration:
12 days / 11 nights
Destinations:
Cochin, Munnar, Periyar, Alleppey, Kumarakom, Mararikulam
Price Guide:

Price guide for this 12 day Culinary Tour to India:

  • £1585 in low season
  • £2125 in high season

based on two people travelling.

 

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Overview

Our Kerala Culinary Adventure offers a way to experience the authentic flavours of the region, all while enjoying some of the most exclusive Indian retreats around. You'll meet local people who've cooked and grown their produce the same way for generations, and learn the truth behind Kerala's most delectable dining – all among some of the most beautiful and secluded surroundings in the country.

What you can enjoy on this culinary tour to India

Here's a quick overview of some of the activities:

  • A visit to the Cochin fish market
  • Kerala cookery demonstration followed by dinner
  • Tour of Kumbalanghi fishing village with a home-cooked lunch
  • Traditional Kathakali dance performance
  • Munnar tea plantation walk, tea museum visit and tea tasting demonstration
  • Cookery demonstrations in Periyar
  • Guided tour of the spice plantations
  • Trek in Periyar Tiger Reserve
  • Lake Periyar boat trip to see wildlife including elephants
  • Sunset cruise on Vembanad Lake
  • Overnight stay on a private houseboat cruising the Alleppey backwaters
  • Day of leisure on Mararikulam Beach

Please remember all our private tours are designed to meet your exact requirements, and this tour is just an example to help inspire you.

Kerala Culinary Adventure 12 Days / 11 Nights

Our Kerala Culinary Adventure offers a way to experience the authentic flavours of the region, all while enjoying some of the most exclusive Indian retreats around. You'll meet local people who've cooked and grown their produce the same way for generations, and learn the truth behind Kerala's most delectable dining – all among some of the most beautiful and secluded surroundings in the country.

Code: COC008

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Day 1 - Arrive in Cochin

Arriving at Cochin Airport, you'll be met and transferred to Brunton Boatyard, a beautiful Victorian waterfront property. Its breezy interior boasts high ceilings and low-hanging fans, while it's super spacious thanks to its legacy as a boat building facility in years gone by.

It's here that you'll settle in for a couple of days, but you're in for a lively evening to begin with. Your first night will see you touring the local fish market to see today's catches, before heading to the home of Paul and Nimmy for an authentic home cooked meal. Nimmy has over 20 years' experience as a cooking instructor under her belt, and she'll take you through the secrets of cooking Kerala food the true Indian way.

Accomodation: Brunton Boatyard
Meals included: Dinner
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Day 2 - Cochin and Kumbalanghi

A brisk morning jaunt will see you heading to the fishing village of Kumbalanghi. Here you'll see crab farmers and fishermen practice their craft, before settling in for lunch in those beautiful backwaters Kerala does so well. As the afternoon draws in, you'll have the chance to explore Fort Cochin and Mattancherry, complete with experiencing the Dutch Palace, the Jewish synagogue and St Francis Church, each superb examples of multicultural old architecture in India.

In the late afternoon, you're free to make your own way through the heritage quarter of Cochin and its surroundings. Relish in the freedom that comes with seeing Kerala your way, before reconvening come the evening. You'll also have the chance to watch the dramatic dance performances of traditional Kerala, the Kathakali.

Accommodation: Brunton Boatyard
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 3 - Cochin to Munnar

You're on the move again, on a lazy two hour drive from Cochin to Kothamangalam. This is a beautiful landmark featuring swarthy tropical heat and abundant natural plant life. The River Periyar weaves its historic path through this territory, and your lunch will be enjoyed with authentic flavours at a bungalow surrounded by 100 acres of plantation, dedicated to crops of all kinds.

After your meal, it's on to exploring the tea plantations of Munnar after two relaxed hours on the road. You'll be spending the first of your two nights at the Windermere Estate, with the freedom to walk the grounds and gardens in the evening.

Approximate travel time and distance: 4 – 5 hours, 150 kms

Accommodation: Windermere Estate
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 4 - Munnar

Take a trip beyond the tea farm and spend your morning basking in the sun as you hike the Letchmi Hills, with mountain ridges and forest canopies surrounding you. You'll be back just in time for a tea factory tour, together with a trip to the Tea Museum to see how the versatile crop has shaped the region since it was introduced here in 1895.

As the evening draws in, put that knowledge into practice at the tea tasting session. Sip the crisp Silver Tip or the rich Orange Pekoe, and speak with the people who grow, harvest and ship these tasty teas to every corner of the world.

Accommodation: Windermere Estate
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 5 - Munnar to Periyar

It's tempting to doze off after the filling breakfast you've enjoyed before the three hour drive to Periyar, but you'll be missing the views if you do. You'll arrive at one of the best national parks and sanctuaries of India – Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary..

Your next two nights stay will be something magical. The thatched roofs and traditional buildings of the Spice Village make it among the most beautiful hotels in India, as well as Eco-friendly. Once settled in your own private cottage, you'll get a tour of the spice plantation and a glimpse into how it's produced and marketed in the region and beyond.

Approximate travel time and distance: 3 - 4 hours, 100 kms

Accommodation: Spice Village
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 6 - Periyar

It's time to immerse yourself in nature on your sixth day. Wake up bright and early for a swift boat ride and a guided trek through the Periyar Nature Reserve, courtesy of tribal trackers whose legacies span generations. By evening, take a shared boat out on the lake to watch elephants bathing and playing, as well as spotting birds and deer.

Later that evening, you'll see how spices are used in traditional Kerala recipes, letting you get hands on in expert cooking classes that'll add some flair to your culinary skills when you're back home.

Accommodation: Spice Village
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 7 - Periyar to Alleppey

You're travelling India in style today. The morning's four hour drive features an enchanting tour of tea and rubber plantations aplenty, ending with you boarding your personal houseboat for an overnight cruise, sailing to Vembanad Lake. Built from coconut fibres and bamboo, these houseboats have a timeless appeal that makes them as handsome as they are welcoming.

Approximate travel time and distance: 4 hours, 150 kms

Accommodation: Private Houseboat
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
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Day 8 - Kumarakom

A big, locally sourced breakfast sets you up for a trip to the island that houses Philipkutty's Farm. This is an organic, sustainable farm that grows bananas, coconuts and plenty of other fruits and vegetables. The island is large enough that you can enjoy lakeside views all round while surrounded by authentic Indian cuisine.

Accommodation: Philpkutty’s Farm
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
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Day 9 - Kumarakom

Today's treat is a cooking demonstration from your host family, bringing with it all the finest spices and flavours in Kerala. Rice and string hoppers form the staple of the dishes you'll be enjoying, while duck, chicken, fish and fresh vegetables all round off the flavours. Of course, because you're enjoying our bespoke tours, these are family recipes you won't find anywhere else and come embellished with little touches perfected over generations.

Come the evening, you're free to enjoy the scenery as you see fit.

Accommodation: Philpkutty’s Farm
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
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Day 10 - Kumarakom - Mararikulam

Perched on the pristine beaches of the Arabian Sea, Mararikulam is home to the Marari Beach Resort. It's an Eco-friendly retreat where you can enjoy authentic Ayruveda therapies, or spend your day relaxing by the beach. You'll be transferred here late in the morning, giving you a full day to make the most of the serenity.

Approximate travel time and distance: 45 minutes, 30 kms

Accommodation: Marari Beach Resort
Meals included: Breakfast

 

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Day 11 - Mararikulam

Today you're free to enjoy what many call the best beach Kerala can offer, as well as sample any number of therapies, treatments or ways of pampering yourself at Marari Beach Resort. As the evening draws in, you're encouraged to partake of the grand finale to your Kerala Culinary Adventure, heading out to the farmland to join top chefs in picking vegetables and herbs to add to a bespoke dish you'll plan, prepare and eat together tonight. Joining the head chef as his guests of honour, you'll sit at the best table in the house and enjoy an authentically cooked dish made with the love and secret tips they do so well here.

Accommodation: Marari Beach Resort
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 12 - Mararikulam - Cochin Departure

A timely transfer to the airport sees you reflect on your adventures as you board your flight and go home, enriched and rejuvenated.

Approximate travel time and distance: 2 hours 30 minutes, 10 kms

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation

Accommodation wise you'll have a fantastic mix of beautiful character properties, including quaint cottages that border the Periyar Tiger Reserve and a private houseboat with a crew to cater for your voyage.

Brunton Boatyard, Cochin

Located in a former Victorian boatyard in the Fort Kochi district, the Brunton Boatyard Hotel overlooks a waterway. What once stood as the site of a boat manufacturing business belonging to Geo Brunton and Sons, the building has been lovingly restored to provide travellers with a glimpse into 19th Century life in Kochi, complete with tall ceilings and traditional low hanging fans. This is a truly beautiful colonial property in a fabulous location.

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Windermere Estate, Munnar

Offering breathtaking and uninterrupted views of the surrounding landscape, Windermere Estate is a wonderful property where guests can enjoy the fresh mountain air whilst strolling around the gardens and cardamom plantation. This family estate offers exceptional levels of service, beautiful accommodation and delicious freshly produced dishes for its guests. The well presented bedrooms are well equipped with private en-suite facilities.

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Spice Village, Periyar

Occupying a stunning position in the highlands of Thekkady, Spice Village is inspired by the dwellings of the Mannan Tribe. Using local materials rooms have thatched roofs made from elephant grass, perfect for keeping the temperature cool and allowing you to embrace the beauty of the natural surroundings. The Spice Village is a fine example of the Eco hotels on offer in India providing a unique back to nature experience combined with modern facilities.

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Kerala Houseboat

Described as the 'Venice of the East', Allepey is a dreamland of interlinking canals and rivers and what better way to explore the exquisite Kerala backwaters than on a Houseboat? Offering an enchanting experience the houseboats are constructed from local and natural materials including bamboo, ropes and coconut fibre and are up to 120 feet long. With an onboard crew to cater to your needs you can sit back, relax and enjoy the cruise.

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Philpkutty’s Farm, Kumarakom

Philipkutty’s Farm is set on a beautiful farm island, which was reclaimed from the backwaters of Lake Vembanad in the early 1950’s. The working farm, which practices sustainable/organic methods of farming, is two metres below the lake level and produces coconut, banana, fruit and vegetables.

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Marari Beach Resort

Set on the white sandy shores of the Arabian Sea, the Marari Beach Resort offers an environmentally friendly, premium resort. The accommodation comprises of thatched cottages which are beautifully simple and sympathetic to the natural surroundings but feature all the mod cons that today's traveller expects. Whether you're looking to relax under a palm tree or enjoy the excellent activities programme the Marari Beach Resort hotel is an idyllic coastal hideaway.

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Destinations

Cochin (Kochi)

Cochin, also known as Kochi, is a port city located on an extensive network of waterways in the state of Cochin. It has been one of the primary gateways to the region for distant merchants and travellers since 1341. Cochin is a great place to start your Kerala holiday offering beautiful hotels, wonderful culture and architecture, friendly people and the opportunity for some retail therapy.

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Munnar

Standing at a heady 1,532m above sea level, the majestic town of Munnar is sure to captivate even the most sceptical visitor, just as it did the British colonial settlers generations ago when they visited each summer seeking reprieve from the heat of the Keralan valleys below. 

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Periyar National Park (Thekkady)

If you've ever dreamed of seeing elephants roaming free, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary offers you the chance of experiencing these beautiful animals in the wild from the comfort of a covered boat or car tour, without disturbing their way of life.

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Kumarakom

Hidden in the backwaters off the South Eastern end of Vembanad Lake in Southern Kerala is the small village of Kumarakom. Calm waters, lush greenery and abundant wildlife ensure that this is the perfect spot for total relaxation. The area offers beautiful quality award winning hotels and is ideally located to enjoy the Kerala backwaters. 

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Kerala Backwaters

Known as the ‘Venice of the East’, Alleppey is the gateway to the  Kerala backwaters, an intricate network of lakes and waterways. Here you’ll find thousands of houseboats, converted rice barges with distinctive curved roofs. Float along the backwaters on one of these luxury boats, gazing out onto the lime green paddy fields, coconut palms and tranquil villages that line the water’s edge. Watch the sun set on the water and fall asleep lulled by the gentle rocking motion of the boat.

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Mararikulam Beach

This village is known for the authentic and quiet Mararikulam beach lined by coconut trees. It’s aptly nicknamed the ‘secret beach’ and is a favorite of the Keralan beaches on offer among locals. Mararikulam also boasts the stunning Sree Mahadeva Temple, one of the oldest temples in India, and the only temple where the deities Shiva and Parvati sit facing each other.

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Pricing and Inclusions

Price guide for this 12 day Kerala Culinary tour is

  • £1585 in low season (May 2019 - September 2019 inclusive)
  • £2125 in high season (October 2018 - April 2019 inclusive)

Please be aware some hotels operate an additional peak pricing rate during busy times. This is normally from mid-December to mid-January. Please get in touch with your dates and we will be pleased to provide you with an accurate quote.

Prices vary depending on the number of people, length of tour, accommodation & season. Reductions are normally available for groups of three or more.

This is a private tour and can be tailor-made to meet your exact requirements.

Included with this Culinary Tour to India are the following:

  • Meet & greet assistance on arrival
  • All transfers and sightseeing tours using an air-conditioned vehicle
  • Accommodation for 11 nights on a twin sharing basis
  • Standard category rooms at all hotels unless otherwise mentioned
  • Meal plan: Houseboat and Philipkutty's farm on full board; bed & breakfast elsewhere
  • Cooking class & dinner at Nimmy Paul's residence, Cochin
  • Kumbalangi village visit and lunch in Cochin
  • Tickets for Kathakali dance show in Cochin
  • English speaking guide for sightseeing tour of Cochin
  • Lunch at Mundackal plantation bungalow Kothamangalam
  • Guided day trek in Letchmi Hills Munnar
  • Spice plantation tour in Periyar
  • Nature trek with tribal trackers in Periyar tiger reserve
  • Tickets for boating on Lake Periyar
  • Interactive farm kitchen with the chef at Marari beach resort
  • Entrances at all national parks, museums and monuments as per the itinerary
  • Mineral water on all days of travel 

Cost does not include:

  • International flight tickets
  • Travel insurance
  • Expenses of personal nature like laundry, tips, beverages etc
  • Meals other than mentioned in the above meal plan
  • Camera & video fees at national parks, museums & monuments

Prices mentioned above are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. The prices which were valid at the time of publication may be subject to change, based on your date of travel and local market fluctuations. You will be informed of any price differences prior to booking.

For a quote based on your dates of travel, any alternative accommodation or changes to this itinerary, please call us on 01792 315499 or email us at info@aitholidays.com