Spice up your life with an Indian tour! Five delicious trips that promise to whet your travel appetite
- On Kuoni’s Kerala Explorer tour you’ll buy ingredients at a market before cooking
- India specialists at Far and Wild Travel can design tailor-made food tours
- Responsible Travel’s Vegan Food Tour visits the ‘Golden Triangle’ of cities
Every week, our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week, he samples the best food tours in India.
Holidaymakers flock to India for the romance of the Taj Mahal, the colour of long-distance rail journeys and the hippy chic of markets in places such as Goa.
But now there’s another big draw – the chance to learn how to cook classic Indian food. Courses and food tours are booming across this vast country. Here are some of the most delicious choices.
Hot stuff: There’s the option of staying on a traditional Keralan houseboat while travelling in India
The A La Carte Tour: India specialists at Far and Wild Travel can design tailor-made tours with food at their heart. Take a look at its template tour, Edible India: A Culinary Pilgrimage, and pick and mix as many of the ingredients you want for your own trip. The most popular tours cover a lot of ground, including Lucknow, Madras, Kerala and Mumbai. You learn from street vendors and hotel chefs, and get to watch as locals cook in their own family kitchens. While every arrangement will be different, a typical 16-night tour will cost from £4,125pp including flights. farandwild.travel
The Full-Flavour Tour: Add a five-day Learn To Cook Indian Cuisine extension to any holiday or city break from On The Go Tours and staff promise that you’ll return ‘tanned and talented’. You’re taught beside the beach in Goa, and on the four main teaching days you learn North Indian, South Indian and Goan recipes, the latter focusing on fish, rice, coconut and vegetables. It costs £399pp for the course including ingredients and excursions but not accommodation. onthegotours.com
The Light Bite Tour: If you’re the only foodie in the family, then keep the others happy by picking a trip that covers more than just cuisine. On the first day of Kuoni’s Kerala Explorer tour, you’ll join the hotel chef to buy ingredients at a market before heading to the kitchen to prepare dinner. The next night, you’ll have a cooking demo and eat in a local home. But after that you’ll focus on mainstream tourist activities and also spend the night on a Kerala houseboat – 11-night trips start at £2,430pp, including flights. kuoni.co.uk
A four-hour guided food crawl with A Chef’s Tour will take you through markets and kitchens and talk you through the history of the local cuisine
The Vegan Tour: Vegetarians have always eaten well in India. Now vegans can enjoy themselves too. The new Vegan Food Tour from Responsible Travel takes you around the ‘Golden Triangle’ of cities from New Delhi accompanied by some ‘vegan influencers’. You’ll enjoy cooking classes and dine at local restaurants. Seven-night tours start at £660pp, excluding flights. responsibletravel.com
The Walking Tours: If you’re in Delhi, Mumbai or the north eastern city of Calcutta, then the professional, four-hour guided food crawls with A Chef’s Tour will take you through markets and kitchens and talk you through the history of the local cuisine. Organisers will also let you graze your way through plenty of free tastings. Food-related sightseeing is included (in Delhi you’ll go into the kitchen of a Sikh temple where they make 30,000 meals daily) and on each walk your instructions are simple: ‘Just bring comfortable shoes and an empty stomach.’ Walks cost £45. achefstour.com