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Get a taste of India on the move

City food blogger offers packages to take food travellers off the ‘eaten’ track into lesser-known regional cuisines and culinary traditions. First tour in February, theme to be spices.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2011 14:58 IST
Sneha Mahale

This February, take a trip to some of India’s most vibrant cities and experience their local cuisines. Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, a food blogger based in Mumbai, along with Beacon Holidays, Australia, is offering food connoisseurs the opportunity to embark on a unique journey across India.

Called Masala Trails, this adventure focuses only on food. On the menu are hand-picked experiences designed to bring out the full flavour of Indian food along with culinary experiences that will span the spectrum — from street food to market tours and home cooking to fine dining.

FoodThe tour will also include demonstrations by expert cooks, chefs and local food artisans. The first tour that commences in February is themed around spices and will take travelers to Kolkata, Hyderabad, Cochin, Thekkady, Kumarakom, Mumbai, Goa, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Jodhpur.

“As a food writer, I got to travel the world and saw people everywhere showcase their food culture. And every time I would come back wondering why we could not do the same in India. After all, our cuisine changes every 50 kilometers and most of it is yet undiscovered. I then began to nurture a dream of creating a food itinerary of India,” says Ghildiyal.

It was then that she teamed up with her sister, Himanshi, from Beacon Holidays and decided to offer people the chance to explore India’s myriad flavours.

However, the duo did not want to showcase what was already popular. So they spent a year-and-a-half discovering India and the unique experiences they wanted to offer travellers. Their intention was to take foreign visitors and Indians alike beyond the curries and exotica to the sort of food real Indians eat.

Also, they wanted them to visit places that were not searchable on Google or available in travel guides. Ghildiyal says, “The very point of this trip is to widen one’s horizons. So we have tried to capture the flavour of the place in the selection of experiences we have put together.”

The Masala Trails package not only showcases local cuisines of places one travels to, but also offers iconic food experiences of that particular city as well. For example, one can sample Bengali home cooking alongside a visit to a Bengali sweet factory in Kolkata, taste Andhra cuisine in Hyderabad alongside a class in biryani making, learn Rajasthani home cooking juxtaposed beside a royal meal or eat street food in Mumbai and have it contrasted with a five-star modern meal by a Michelin starred chef. Also, one can opt for custom tours.

Ghildiyal says, “Masala Trails is not just about eating or touring, but about learning the diverse culinary history of India through its food. We want to highlight local endeavours in little-known areas and want the people of each region to showcase their food. That is the ultimate objective of this journey.” Presently, Masala Trails offers departures on one fixed day of the month, but can customise trips for groups of four to 10, if required.