A trip to the Tropical Spice Plantation in Goa

Q. Did you know which is the King of Spice ?
A. It is Pepper .

Q. Did you know which is the Queen of Spice ?
A. Green Cardamom is the Queen of spice .

                                                  

During my last visit to Goa , I missed visiting the Tropical Spice PlantationSpices have long been a part of the Indian way of life not just because they impart rich flavor and fragrance to our food but also for their medicinal values and how can we forget that it was the lure of these spices that brought the colonial rule to India .
                                             

The Tropical spice plantation in Ponda, Goa is spread across many acres .There is another Sahakari Farms nearby which is also a spice plantation but we had time to visit only one of them so we chose the Tropical Spice Plantation and I shall be sharing my experience about this one.

  

Lobster Claw or Heliconia or
Wild Plaintain -an Ornamental tropical tree 
    

 

A Vanilla creeper 

Parking – The parking is free , they do note down the number of your vehicle .

Entry Fee – When we went there, we were charged Rs 400 per head that included a tour of the Spice Plantation and Lunch Buffet . Children below 5 years are given free entry.A short wooden bridge connected the tropical spice garden to the ticket counter which itself was thrilling for my kids .There were some ducks and geese waddling around which my son really enjoyed watching.

                                               
                                                       
The Welcome – We were given a warm welcome with traditional Tilak and showering of flowers petals at the entrance .Once inside, we were seated in the large waiting hall cum dining hall and served warm and fresh lemongrass tea till our tour guide arrived .

image source :wikipedia 

                                                         
Our tour guide arrived 5 minutes later ,she was a young lady who also spoke fluent Russian ,since this plantation attracts a lot of foreign nationals , the guides are multilingual. She took our group of ten people for a 45 minute tour of the spice garden.

                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                  Our Guide explaining about the #AllSpice

She showed us Betel nut or Areca Nut Palms  (सुपारी in Hindi ) and explained the use in Indian households as well as the medicinal values of the betel nut.It was a revelation for me , as I had no idea that these small nuts grew on such tall trees.She also gave us the Areca fruit to see closely.

                                                          
                                                       
Other spices and their mother plants that we got to see were the Green cardamom , The black cardamoms ,The All spice ,The Nutmeg tree, The Ocimum sanctum plant (Tulsi) , The Neem (Azadirachta ) tree, The Curry leaf tree, Bayleaf ,The Fennel Plants , The Vanilla Creepers ,The Peppercorn tree , the Cinnamon Tree and the Clove tree besides some common trees like Mango,Coconut and some ornamental trees that are indigenous to Goa .

                                                      
After the 45 minute spice plantation tour ,our tour guide also showed us how the natives made Feni – a local alcoholic brew made from fermenting the cashew apple juice .
                                                   

                                                          
                The fresh Green Cardamoms,generally are found near the base of the plant in
                                               contrast to the black cardamoms that are found
                                                       among the higher branches of the Black cardamom plant

At the end of the tour she asked us if we wanted to have a bath with a relaxing medicinal mixture.This was a watery liquid which she poured down our spine.The liquid caused a tingling and hot and cool sensation and thus made the muscles relax .It definitely helped but also made us wet !
                                     

               
               
                                                              
                                                                           One of the hottest chilli in the world
                                                                           – the Thai Chilli or Bird’s Eye chilli
The tour was now over and we were back to the dining-cum-waiting hall where our guide informed us that lunch was ready.It was a buffet with both vegetarian dishes and non vegetarian dishes .

The buffet that day consisted of – Yellow Dal , Zeera Rice ,Potatoes and Peas curry, Cabbage dry curry and a sweet rice dish for dessert.
For non vegetarians , there was a dry Prawn curry and Chicken Xacuti with steamed rice.

Lunch Buffet at #TropicalSpiceGarden

                                               

                                                The vegetarian buffet at #TropicalSpiceplantation

The food was fresh, hot ,lightly spiced and easy on the stomach. While we were eating, our guide asked us if wanted to try the Feni ( Goan alcoholic drink made from Cashew apples) and gave us small samples to try.
                                             

                                                                
                                                                    A model of #Feni making -A local Goan Liquor made from
                                                          fermenting and distilling ripe Cashew Apple juice
Me and my Husband tried Feni but it had a strong taste and very strong hit of alcohol so we could not have more than a sip.
With the hearty lunch and Feni, our trip was concluded ,there were spices and handicrafts for sale at a special counter but seeing the price tags , we avoided buying any.
Handicrafts display for sale at Tropical Spice Plantation 

                                         

Handicrafts made from coconuts at
 display for sale at #TropicalSpicePlantation 
                                          
We did not return empty handed though, there were huge smiles on our faces as we felt quite enriched with seeing all that greenery and the sources of all those spices that are intrinsic to our Indian cooking.

                                              

Nutmeg,Cinnamon,Green Cardamoms ,Cloves and Pepper
etc. spices for sale at the #TropicalSpicePlantation in Goa

                                             
Do visit it whenever you are around ,specially if you are in Goa with your kids ,you will have a great time I guarantee!

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