The Spice Route culinary festival

My first memory of the Bolgatty palace was in the early eighties when I visited Kochi with my father, we had been to the ophthalmology conference, while papa was busy with the sessions my mother and I did what we loved the most not shopping, sightseeing.

We had been to fort Kochi, the Jewish settlement, there was a weaving place and finally the Bolgatty Palace, what had struck to me then and what struck to me this time was this was a very un-palace like palace. It was like two glass walls held by two brick walls, it is definitely not so, but that was the feel I got.

The first time when we went there we had to go by boat this time round there a bridge to cross over, and when had sailed the boat I imagined the era of the Muziri’s and the spice trade.

This time we were visiting the tourist event of culinary festival of the spice route, it was a Kerala tourism program co-hosted by UNESCO. Countries  like Lebanon, Italy, and many others taking part. There were international chefs participating.

The spice route cook out.

The events were understanding Kerala and its spice heritage, and the traditional cooking.

Going to the Local fish and vegetable markets where the chefs could pick up ingredients, and a Muziri’s tour for the delegates and

On the 25th, cooking and food presentation sessions took place and 26th was the day for the display, the Kerala chef contest of the professional category and the amateur category was on.

As we walked along, there were numerous fragrances wafting. There a great sense of excitement too.

Wish Kerala tourism would organize a spice route within the country it would really be an interesting thing to experience.

The endeavour was to recreate the ancient trade routes that Kerala was once the port of Muziris, which was known as Muyirikode, Kakotai, or Mahodayapuram, it was also an bustling urban centre. It is been mentioned in the bardic Sangama literature and number of classical European journals. Though the exact location is not known the literature refers to it at the mouth of the river periyar. The Kerala tourism is reviving the Muziris heritage.

The theme of the festival is the spice route that is the trade route between historic civilizations of Asia, northeast Africa and Europe, spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, turmeric were traded. References to this is found in the early writing, stone age carvings of Neolithic age, and there are references to Muziris a port in Kerala, and it is referred to as land of spices or the spice garden of India. Interestingly the traders who and Chera kings who did the trade considered it is gifts exchanged rather than commerce.

The Sangama literature talks of the Pandya kings causing disruptions so the trade route got shifted from the Chera kingdom to the Pandya. Muziris lost its trade centre status with increasing pirate infestation and finally the great flood.


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