Thursday, 12 February 2009

Spice Garden visit

As we entered the garden on a footpath from the ticket booth we heard group of ladies walking in a circle, clapping their hands while singing local songs and as we passed under the entrance fragrant flowers was thrown on us and everyone got a “lei” around their neck.

Crew and Augustine at reception

After this we were seated at a table and we got some lemongrass tea and cashew nuts to snack on while our guide was assigned to us.

Once finished our snack it was time to get on the tour and we started walking after our guide, the spices were multiple, among many plants I can recall: bayleaves, lemongrass, vanilla, pepper, super hot chillies, nutmeg, banana (world’s tallest grass), cardamon, cloves, cocoa, turmeric (cheap mans , cashew, areca nut, coffee bean, curry leaves, garam masala (5 spices in one tree). While passing every herb or spice the guide was churning out ayurvedic remedies for various ailments the plant could be utilised for. E.g nutmeg is result for the large Indian population being a natural “viagra”…

Our spice guide

Cashew is a 2-part fruit that consists of the fruit and the nut, the nuts are the cashews that we eat roasted and the fruit is fermented into “ourak” and then distilled into “fenny”.

During the tour we also saw some camels and elephants that tourists could take rides on after the tour. As last number we were demonstrated how areca palms are harvested by climbing up the trunk with the aid of a sling around your ankles and then just swinging from tree to tree.

At the end of the tour we were poured ice cold herbal water down our necks to relax us or whatever, at least it was cooling. Then we were offered locally made cashew fenny and lunch. We tasted the fenny but declined the lunch as we had another engagement at the brewery. The fenny was quite a rough experience burning all the way down the throat and leaving a warm feeling in the bottom of your stomach.

We all left happy after the very educational experience.

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