A journey across India’s culinary capitals
Sudipta Dev – Mumbai
Heart of India is a niche travel agency that has been successfully operating inbound food tours for food lovers from across the world who have an interest in India’s cuisine culture and want to explore its many nuances. “We exclusively started this culinary tour to focus on four main cuisines of India, that is Delhi for North West Frontier cuisine, Lucknow for authentic Awadhi cuisine, Hyderabad to taste the Deccan food, followed by coastal Malabar cuisine in Kochi,” said Kush Singh, co-founder, Heart of India.
The response has been encouraging as there is a lot of interest in Indian food all over the world. The main market so far has been Europe, primarily the UK and France. “We also had a good interest from Australia, and we are getting enquiries from Canada and the US as well. This is a niche segment so we are having excellent relationships with culinary associations of all these countries. There are well known food tour operators all over the world, we are engaging with them as well,” mentioned Singh.
Interestingly, the tours are not focused on the travel alone. “The first priority is good food, it so happens luckily that Delhi, Lucknow, Hyderabad and Kochi are very good travel destinations as well,” stated Singh. He pointed out that while every region claims that they have the authentic food, but these four cuisines – the North West, Awadhi, Deccan and Malabar – have been practiced professionally in the kitchens of India and have been mastered through the centuries. There are other cuisines as well, but there is no legacy or history of professional cooking. “Only when you indulge in professional cooking, can an authentic legacy be preserved,” he asserted. The highlights of the tour includes special interaction with the chefs, access to the kitchens, also informal cooking sessions. Acknowledging that India has to be promoted for its various aspects, not just the beautiful monuments or history, Singh stated, “Food is a very important aspect of our culture. This is a real interest tour, for real food lovers who are looking for a deeper meaning of their travel to India.”