India is famous as the Land of Spices. It was for the spices that the Europeans took hell lot of effort to find a new route to India. The spices brought riches not only to India but also to the merchants who sold it all over the world. Since the time immemorial they have been must-have ingredients in the kitchens of even the best of the chefs. So, after visiting the Bigfoot Museum and Fonteinhas, I planned to stroll in the wild and visit a spice plantation Goa. Though Goa has vast fields for spice plantation, for the travelers’ sake, most of these big farms have opened the mini spice garden for the tourists in Goa.
Learn About the Tropical Spices at Spice Plantation Goa
Have you ever wondered how these world-famous spices are grown or how do they look in their raw form? If this makes you curious then the Spice plantation in Goa is just for you. The spice plantation tour in Goa takes you to the plantation trails and also lets you taste the organic food cooked using the same. The trail is filled with the exotic aroma of the spices planted all around you. Following are the experiences to enjoy at the Spice Plantation Tour in a Spice garden Goa. It is kind of a treasure hunt where you identify the spices that you have only seen in your kitchen. The spices that you would explore in the spice plantation tour are:
The spiciest chili sauce or the hot sauce would have been tried by almost all of us. This chili doesn’t at all look like what you might think. When the guide would point at this green pod of hotness hanging on a plant would leave you surprised.
Cinnamon and Cardamom
Most of the aromatic spices in any kitchen are definitely the sticks of cinnamon and the cardamom pods. The spice plantation in Goa allows you to taste the fresh part of the cinnamon stems and cardamom buds. In fact, these are the spices that you must carry home from the stores in the spice gardens of Goa.
A very special and exclusive spice used in many India sweet is also a part of the Spice Plantation. The spice in the garden would be fresh and green but its real aroma and taste can be experienced only through its dried powder. If you want to try this unusual spice, you can anytime purchase it from the grocery shops anywhere in India.
This beautiful spice can be seen hugging around all the tall trees in the spice garden. These creepers give you the most aromatic of the spice that is used worldwide and is essentially becomes a part of the dining table.
The most expensive spice in the world is also grown in Goa. The beautiful vanilla flowers adorn the trails in the spice garden and you might end up thinking it to be just a decorative flower until the guide would explain to you in detail about this flavorful spice. I bet, you would recollect all the information about this spice whenever you binge into those white scoops of vanilla ice-cream.
Most homes have this spice at home and also end-up thinking it to be a mixture of 5 spices. You would be surprised to see this natural wonder in the form of a huge plant with large leaves which are also used for a fresh spicy flavor.
Get Familiar with the Tropical Fruits and Nuts grown in Goa
The other variety of plants extend from cocoa, basmati rice grass, lemongrass, cashew nuts, and pineapple. It becomes more exciting with the guides providing interesting information about each of them.
The whole of South India produces and consumes coffee in hight quantity. However, the coffee plantation isn’t popular in Goa. If you are not visiting the southern states then the Spice Plantation tour is an opportunity for you to witness your favorite red seeds grow. Despite being from this land hardly did I know that my favorite (almost everybody’s) coffee had male and female buds. The seeds from different buds have different usages. While you would be guided through the Spice Garden they would tell you much more about this favorite beverage of all. Let me not ruin the fun by disclosing too much!
This south Indian spice is largely grown in the states of Goa and Karnataka. It is an opportunity to see the process of plucking and drying areca nuts. This nut has also acquired a special place in Indian culture and religious ritual. The guests in south Indian houses are always offered an areca nut along with the beetle nut leaf and a banana.
Usually grown in the Coorg region of Karnataka, Cocoa grown in India is now much in demand. Most places in the south of India provide fresh homemade chocolate. In some stores located in the spice garden, you can relish the dark chocolate made from the locally grown cocoa. You can see the green fruits which hold the cocoa nibs within growing at the spice plantation Goa.
Banana, Basmati Grass, and Pineapple
Banana is the largely grown fruit in south India. You find them in different varieties, sizes, and colors. The small sweet bananas grown here would give you a different taste. The organic bananas in most of the spice plantation are also a part of their meal at the end of the tour. The long basmati rice of Asia has this typical aroma which makes this rice different from the other variety and the Basmati Grass is that you will witness in the Spice garden is the secret of it. Our favorite fruit pineapple is a grass product and beautifully sits in the middle of the grass blooming like a green flower.
Learn the Process of Feni Making and try Feni shots
They also have the feni (the local alcoholic drink made from fermented cashew nuts) making machines which are meant to explain you the process of making this famous Goan drink. After the tour, the tourists are given an option to try feni shots which is really very hard for the first-timers.
Experience Traditional Indian Hospitality
You would be welcomed in a traditional manner with a herbal tea that tastes really amazing with a variety of herbs boiled with lemongrass. The tour ends with a surprising spray of cold aromatic water on your spine. This is really refreshing as it alerts your reflexes and brain. Though the water might not be aromatic or infused with herbs or oils as claimed by the guide, it is just a trick to elevate your senses.
Enjoy the Indian Food at the Spice Garden
Lunch usually includes local cuisine and spices. The food might taste bland to the Indians as it is cooked considering the huge number of foreigners. Do not miss on the feni shots if you choose to go for the Sahakari Spice Plantation.
Take-Home the Spices and Therapeutic Oil
You can also purchase the aromatic oils, spices, and herbs from the counters.
Which are the Spice Plantation Tour Options in Goa?
There are numerous spice plantation or spice garden in Goa. You can go through the reviews of each of them on Google or Trip advisor. Here are a few of the popular ones enlisted for you.
Sahakari Spice Plantation
We had an amazing experience at the Sahakari Spice Plantation. It is located a few kilometers away from Madgaon in Ponda. Their spice garden is beautifully set up and gives you a feeling of entering into some rain forest. Usually, you can directly join the tour and no booking is needed. However, during peak season, you can pre-inform your arrival.
- Timing: 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. It is advisable to go by 9 am when the rush is a little lesser.
- Contact: 0832-2340329
- Price: 400 INR including Lunch.
Tropical Spice Plantation
Tropical spice plantation is another famous Spice Garden Tour location at a village named Keri which is 6 km off from Ponda. Surround by vast green fields, this place also offers the soothing music of birds and a gently flowing stream in its premise. They claim to be a mini bird sanctuary and bird lovers can expect to spot more than 75 species of birds. They also have a small butterfly garden within the plantation area.
- Timing: 10 am to 4 pm. It is advisable to go by 9 am when the rush is a little lesser.
- Contact: 0832-2312394
- Price: 400 INR including Lunch.
Savoi Spice Plantation
The named is derived from the village in which it is located. Savoi is the village of Ponda Taluka in Goa. Apart from their Tropical Spice Plantation, they are also famous for their authentic Goan food. They are a bit pricy but the visitors swear by the guides’ proficiency in plantation knowledge who takes you around for as long as 60 minutes. However, if I am given an option, I would definitely choose the other option as we can always ask for more information to the other guides too.
- Timing: 10 am to 5 pm. It is advisable to go by 9 am when the rush is a little lesser.
- Contact: 09637838389
- Price: 700-950 (including an open bar) INR including Lunch.
Dudhsagar Spice Plantation
If you want to experience a stay in a spice plantation, you can try Dudhsagar Spice Plantations. It is a unique farm stay providing a number of activities of trekking, bird watching, natural farming trails and heritage trips in Goa. The only disadvantage is that they take a minimum of 5 persons’ group for a spice plantation tour.
- Timing: Arranged based on your requirement
- Contact: 09765364456 / 09420766782 for booking.
- Price: 600 for adults and 400 for kids.
How to Reach Spice Plantations in Goa?
If you don’t have your own car or a private cab, you can rent a bike from Madgaon (A plenty of them are available at the railway station ranging from 200 INR to 700 INR) and can explore the places in and around Ponda including the spice plantations of Goa.
- Wear a comfortable pair of shoes as you might need to walk on uneven tiles or muddy pathway.
- Carry a water bottle not just for the tour but for the exploration of the entire Ponda area.
- Avoid buying plastic water bottles and preserve the eco-sensitivity developed by the locals.
- You can combine your plantation tour with the visits to elephant bathing ponds, Big Foot Museum and the temples of Ponda region in Goa.
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