C’mon Baltimore, Let’s Travel the Spice Circuit!

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Hotel stay in Chettinad—120 year old former home of a merchant in South India. This city is known for it’s tile work, second only to intricate Mexican tiles.

Baltimore…are you ready for a South Indian experiential trip to the spice region of India? Starting in January, Martha Lucius is leading a food tour to South India.

It’s called the Spice Circuit – a term Indians use when referring to the geographic region where the spice route began. Traveling, literally to the origins of spices such as anise, chili powder, cardamom, tea, and tamarind.

We asked Martha Lucius, the former owner of Boheme Cafe, to explain.
How did this trip come into being?  
“There’s nothing like actually being there, right? No better way to make it come true than my leading a group on a trip to Kerala and Tamil Nadu, India. This group of travelers will come back home and add more than salt and pepper to their chicken dinner!  I’m eager to bring people together and learn how to add spices to make dinner extraordinary.  In fact, you should join us, in January, 2018.”
Chili and lime prawn with coconut.
Are you teaching cooking classes on this trip?  
“No, I am collaborating with two Indian gentlemen—Chef Kanthi Kiran Thamma, who is based in Brighton UK, and Wilson Rajan, who is our experienced hospitality guru! Chef Kanthi will be explaining and teaching about the many mini-cuisines in South India.  There are cooking demos in Wilson Rajan’s home, wandering on tea plantations, exploring a spice farm and, of course, eating micro-cuisines, every step of the way.”
(pic on left) Inviting stay in Pondicherry, a city in the former French colony. Kerala is the name of one of the geographic states of India. Kerala translates to mean “coconut” (pic on right) Grilled Calamari with sweet chili and lime.
“Chef Kanthi Kiran Thamma is proud of his roots.  He says, “all three States that form the Spice Circuit have been colonies of the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French and the British. All of them came to South of India in search of spices and fell in love with the food and stayed for hundreds of years. South India was their second home.  What amazes me as a chef, is how much the food habits and food culture changes every 200 kilometers. You see it when you travel along… in language, clothing, culture, art and architecture. And, of course, the food. No other country in the world can offer so much diversity. Every place we visit makes the next place we feel like we are in a whole different country.”
Dining room in one of the hotels where our guests will be staying.
It’s coming up quickly.  Can people still sign up?
“Yes! Our deadline is November 5, so do not delay! If they are ready to sign up, email me at martha@spicecircuit.com.  If people need to learn more about the logistics, pricing and hotel standards, they can ask all the questions they want by emailing me.  I will talk to people who are interested too. Once viewers hear about the experiences this trip will offer, they won’t want to miss out. “
Shore Temple is one of many UNESCO sites in Mahabalipuram, scheduled. You’ll definitely walk enough to get you hungry for spicy, flavorful breakfasts, lunches and dinners each day.
Thank you, Martha, for answering our questions about the trip to India. Sounds like a fun journey.
“Thank you for your interest.  India is an amazing experience. This is a trip of a lifetime!  There’s been a lot of hard work in putting this together for Baltimore and DC residents.  I cannot wait to take a group of Americans to this part of India, with Chef Kanthi and Wilson!  They are going to love our humor and character as much as we are going to enjoy the food and their amazing hospitality.”

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