Kochi | Harking back to journeys of yore, travelers from 15 countries along the historic Spice Route will call into the port here on a voyage that seeks to rekindle a shared legacy of culinary distinction, commerce, connectivity and cultural exchange.
The Spice Route Culinary Festival a first-of-its-kind celebration of the fiery flavours found along the over 2,000-year-old maritime trade way will commence Friday.
Organised by Kerala Tourism in association with UNESCO and the Tourism Ministry, it will run till September 26 at Bolgatty Palace and Island resort, a release said here today.
Prominent chefs from Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Oman, Turkey, Qatar, Netherlands, France, Malaysia, Italy and Japan will sample cultural and culinary offerings of “God’s Own Country”, take in a demonstration on traditional Kerala cooking and participate in an interactive discussion session on the first day.
On the second day, they will visit and procure local ingredients from markets before tabling the choicest cuisines from their homelands for the festival’s centrepiece international cooking competition on Sunday.
The list of luminaries also features diplomats, embassy representatives and eminent delegates from these countries, besides officials from UNESCO.
Ambassador of the Netherlands Alphonsus Stoelinga will attend, as will Shigeru Aoyagi, Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives and a number of Consul Generals and other high-ranking officials.
“We are very proud to host this unique initiative that will honour the enduring bonds created by the ancient Spice Route and highlight Kerala’s legacy as a hot spot for tourism and trade,” said Kerala Tourism minister A C Moideen, who will brief the media following the festival’s opening and deliver the valedictory address at its closing.
The gastronomic extravaganza will also showcase the best culinary fare and talent from across Kerala as identified in a just-concluded regional competition organised by Kerala Tourism for local chefs.
“Kerala’s history as a Spice Route hub is reflected in its present-day cosmopolitanism and participatory ethic. Much more than a platform for the state, the festival is a significant step in promoting people to people links, cultural tourism, intercultural dialogue and heritage preservation,” Principal Secretary Dr V Venu said.
Of benefits to reviving ties along the ancient linkage, Kerala Tourism Director U V Jose said exchange of spices and other goods has only helped Kerala and trade partners flourish and develop ties that survived many centuries and brought together different people and ideas from across the world.
“This initiative will trigger more of the same.”