The cuisine of Kerala is rich and varied. While the heavy use of coconut is a unifying factor, different regions, religions and communities have created their own unique and delicious sub-cuisines that are all worth exploring.
Here are 7 hotels and homestays where food is definitely a highlight!
1. SaveAGram Homestay, Wayanad
Set amidst fields and mountains and close to the Kabini River is an over 100-year-old Nambiar home that welcomes guests to enjoy the simple pleasures of rural Kerala life. This homestay offers numerous interesting activities for its guests, from exploring ancient temples nearby and visitng a ‘kalari’ that teaches the ancient martial art of kalari payattu to lending a hand in the farm and going on hikes in the nearby forests. One of the highlights of a stay here is the traditional home made Kerala food on offer, from ela ada, a dessert steamed in leaves, to puttu and appam, breakfast dishes made of rice and rice flour, with kadala curry. Lunches here are mini-sadyas, the vegetarian feasts that are served to mark special occasions like festivals and weddings, with dishes made with ingredients from the farm and served on banana leaves. The hosts will also teach you how to make a dish or two.
2. Marari Beach Resort, Alapuzha
This luxurious yet down-to-earth ‘beach resort’ is a beautiful property, with thatched roof cottages set amidst coconut groves and lotus ponds a stone’s throw from the beach and the sea. From a foodie perspective, two features of this CGH Earth resort ensure guests have a great food experience. There is a vibrant fishing village and community nearby in whose lives the Resort is now very closely intertwined. So guests can count on fresh seafood, caught just hours before by the intrepid fisher folk of Mararikulam. Then, there’s 12-acre organic farm-garden at the resort so veggies served here are fresh and organic. The seafood is, obviously, very good and you should try everything from the traditional Malayalee dish of prawns in mango curry to the more contemporary fennel and coriander-encrusted fish. A unique dining experience is offered in the form of the Interactive Farm Kitchen. At the interactive kitchen, you get to accompany the chefs and pick fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs from the farm and then work with them to create your meal!
Read more: https://www.responsibletourismindia.com/stay/marari-beach-resort/16
3. Rosegardens Homestay, Munnar
A winding hill road from Munnar takes you to Karadippara and to the heritage homestay of Rosegardens, a traditiional Kerala home, complete with tiled roof, wide verandahs and wooden beams on the ceiling inside and wood panelling on the walls. The homestay stands in two acres of organic farmland and most of the food prepared at rosegardens is made of ingredients from the farm or is sourced from neighbours. Guests can expect aunthentic Catholic-Keralan dishes—the fish and chicken dishes are must haves—prepared by the lady of the house. She also conducts cooking demonstrations.
4. The Malabar House, Fort Kochi
This heritage boutique hotel is a beautiful property set in pretty and historic Fort Kochi. This area is known for being a melting pot of cultures, religions, communities and customs and the hotel’s restaurant, The Malabar Junction, pays homage to this unique aspect of Fort Kochi by offering innovative fushion cuisine. The menu is inspired by Kerala and Mediterranean cuisines with dishes ranging from a traditional Kerala thali to Veal Tongue, which is served with every Malayali’s favourite kappa or tapioca. The restuarant only uses local ingredients and tries to use only organic produce. The seafood heavy menu ensures the hotel works closely with local fishermen.
5. Chitoor Kottaram, near Cochin
This unique and exclusive CGH Earth unhotel is a single-key property, which means only one group of guests are hosted at this three-bedroom mansion that was once the Palace of Cochin kings. This means meals can be tailormade to guest preferences. However, the property ensures guests enjoy authentic Kerala meals. A traditional vegetarian Kerala sadya is something the in-house chef can whip up. Considering the Palace is right on the banks of the backwaters and the sea is not too far away, seafood is a speciality. The grilled masala prawns and the traditional fish curry that is flavoured with the Malabar tamarind are the chef’s kiss! What makes the meals stand out even more are the settings were they are served. Your meals could be served by the waterfront, at the gazebo, in the veranda, or amidst nature in the open garden.
6. Vini’s Farm, Kollam
What’s better than an exclusive island getaway? An island getaway with delicious meals made by your private chef! This is exactly what you get at Vini’s Farm, located on Munroe Island in South Kerala. You will get authentic and home style Kerala food—the fish and seafood dishes are especially good. The ingredients are mostly organic and are all locally sourced, with some being grown right on the farm. Some stand out dishes are the tender coconut payasam, birds eye chili wine, passion flower honey and tea made with jaggery and numerous spices and herbs! The meals, especially the dinners, are served in different parts of the island taking the dining experience to a whole new level.
7. Windermere Estate, Munnar
Munnar might be tea country, but Windermere Estate is set on a 60-acre plantation where coffee and cardamom plants take pride of place. The views here are spectacular and so are the food experiences. There are no menus or the dreaded resort buffet here. The chefs decide on the day’s meal based on the day’s produce from the Estate’s gardens and the local markets. Meals are served at the table course by course and mostly feature home-style local and Indian dishes. The meals are served at The Barn, a sun drenched space that is inspired by traditional cardamom curing houses. The balcony overlooking the tea gardens is a favourite breakfast and lunch spot for guests. The Resort has re-created the famous Kerala ‘chaya kada’ or tea shop—that communal centrepiece of any Kerala village. Just like in a village tea shop, The Tea Shack brews tea in large, charcoal fired samovars. A dining experience unlike any other is the sit down dinner, preceded by a bonfire and barbeque, that is organised twice a week at The Boulder, literally a giant boulder in the Estate grounds.