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 .
|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 .
| 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 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
|Handicrafts display for sale at Tropical Spice Plantation|
|Handicrafts made from coconuts at
display for sale at #TropicalSpicePlantation
|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!