Sunday, 24 October 2010

Spices of Goa

Being welcome with flower petals at Sahakari Spice Farm, Goa
Virtually all tourists in Goa spend a major part of the time one the beach sunning themselves, while sipping drinks and watching the kids try para-sailing and jet skiing. But when they get tired of the beach and want to do something the next most touristy thing to do is to go visit one of the several open-for-visitors spice plantations located a few kilometres inland, complete with dining halls, visitor centre, souvenir shop and guided tours.

Each plantation is visited by hundreds of visitors each day, so you can debate the "authenticity" of the farm as an actual commercial spice farm rather than as a tourist spot. Nevertheless, it actually still makes for a very interesting trip. The plants and spices are real enough and the guides at Sahakari Spice Farm (at least ours) were knowledgeable and friendly. My mother in particular enjoyed seeing the origins of the many everyday spices, like cardamom, pepper, coffee, ginger, cinnamon and many others that come in little glass bottles back home in Europe.

Our guide showing us a type of nut
Plantation worker demonstrating
how to harvest coco and cashew nuts

Turmeric fresh out of the ground

Vanilla as it looks when still on the tree

Coffee Plant

Cocoa plant popular with red ants

The plantations are homes to countless of these huge but harmless banana spider

My sister sampling the locally brewed cashew nut-based liquor, Feni

Rikke and Ole took the opportunity to take a ride on the plantation elephant