Foodies can visit India’s spice markets with Geringer Global Travel. // © 2012 Thinkstock
Clients can experience the flavors of India during a 15-day culinary journey with Geringer Global Travel. The itinerary includes a tea tour, celebrating the diversity of regional Indian cuisine and its world famous tea production. Extending beyond popular favorites, the tour delves into the heart of Indian cooking, introducing the distinctive styles and seasonings of South Indian, Punjabi, Awadhi, Brahmin and Bengali dishes. Travelers will not only observe cooking demonstrations, they will have the opportunity to speak with chefs, shop for spices and even roll up their sleeves in the kitchen. The tour includes visits to distinctive cultural landmarks in Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kolkata, Kalimpong and Gangtok, before ending in world-famous Darjeeling with a stay at its Glenburn Tea Estate.
The itinerary begins in Delhi where, among visiting popular landmarks such as Mahatma Gandhi’s Raj Ghat cremation site and the iconic Red Fort, travelers will wander Khari Baoli’s famous spice markets where street vendors offer mouthwatering snacks and saffron, the most expensive spice in the world.
The tour then heads to Lucknow, known as the “Constantinople of India,” where travelers can sample the 2,500-year-old city’s world-famous Awadhi kebabs during an afternoon of browsing chikan embroidery, edible silver Waraq foils and Itar perfumes at the Chowk bazaar. In Varanasi, a sacred hub to both Hindus and Buddhists due to its proximity to the restorative Ganges River and Buddha’s Sarnath deer park, visitors will enjoy an abundance of fried delicacies and yogurt-based drinks offered in Kachauri Gali’s famous food stalls. In Kolkata, known as the gateway to India for the better part of the 19th century, the Victoria Memorial and St. Paul’s Cathedral stand as a testament to European influence while the cuisine exhibits a Bengali zest for life. A unique opportunity awaits guests at Neena’s Kitchen in Kalimpong where they can accompany the proprietor to the local haat bazaar (grocery market) to purchase produce and help prepare ethnic dishes influenced by the town’s Bhutanese, Nepalese, Tibetan and Lepchas heritage.
After a brief visit to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim and center of Tibetan Buddhist culture, the tour heads to Darjeeling. Guests will spend the final days of the tour being introduced to the world of Indian tea from the comfort of the Glenburn Tea Estate, where guests will embark upon guided tours, learning everything from the proper way to pluck tea leaves to the intricacies of winter pruning and processing. Visitors can put their knowledge to use for a special tea tasting session, which will highlight the differences in aroma, flavor and appearance of regional Indian teas and teas from around the world.
Pricing begins at $5,415, per person, dependent upon the group size and the season, and includes superior hotel accommodations for 14 nights, internal flights, specified meals, guided tours, entrance fees, transport services, English-speaking tour guides and cultural activities.