Thursday, 29 January 2015

3 Magical Days at Vivenda Dos Palhacos, Goa

There are some places where you go on holiday and you end up never wanting to leave! Vivenda Dos Palhacos, a quirky boutique hotel in the South of Goa (Majorda to be exact), was just this sort of place. A group of all school friends planned a reunion of sorts over the long weekend and this lovely hotel/B&B provided us with the perfect setting to catch up, unwind and reminisce about the good old days :) 

The hotel itself consists of a beautifully restored one hundred year old Portuguese Mansion and an old house with rammed earth walls (which have now been made into the main house) and a few old outhouses. The setting is a typical Goan village and it's quite an interesting feeling waking up to cocks crowing and also hearing the village church bells ringing in the evening. The setting reminded me so much of childhood family vacations in our ancestral home, now sadly sold off. 

The property is owned by brother-sister team, Simon and Charlotte Hayward, and they are the most amazing hosts. Charlotte has travelled all over India and she was always ready to help with suggestions on the best places to visit in Goa. 

Breakfast is a communal meal and all the guests sit together and share stories about their adventures and experience. This massive concrete table was where we were treated to the most amazing breakfast of fruit, cereals, fresh Goan pav, eggs, the most delicious banana pancakes and homemade preserves- I could go on and on. The staff is incredibly helpful and go out of their way to make you feel at home. My tip would be to enjoy breakfast and head out for lunch and dinner, although they do have a fixed dinner as well as an al a carte menu. If you do it eat, try their burgers and the chilli prawn salad and for dessert, their chocolate pots are to die for.

A great amount of thought and care was put into the styling of this hotel. It's Indian, but still modern and the owners tongue in cheek sense of humour is unmistakable throughout. The bar/reception is the hub of all activity and its here where you can book yourself in for a massage (done by the most amazing couple) or order yourself an evening cocktail (they do a great Gin and Tonic and Dry Martini).

If you are a bit of a romantic, a dreamer and have a quirky sense of humour, then Vivenda Dos Palhacos is for you. It's a place to go and forget about the hustle and bustle of city life and get a feel of life in a Goan Village, although quite a luxurious one. If you are however expecting 5 star luxury, sparkling clean floors and instant service, then its most definitely not. This is a sort of home away from home, and in true Goan fashion, things happen at a different pace. I absolutely loved my stay here. It's quite kid friendly too and is perfect for a group of friends holidaying together. A must visit in my books. 

[All images by Shalini Pereira, please do not use without prior written permission]

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Discover North East Cuisine with Sneha & Karen- a Pop Up Event @ Dzukou

Hello peeps! I had a blissful few days in Goa... beautiful 30 degree weather, sun shining and clear blue skies... and now I'm back to the fog and cold that is Gurgaon :( Depressing as that may sound, at least my batteries are recharged and ideas are flowing once again!

I'm kicking the week off with some promotion. My friend and fellow food enthusiast, Sneha Lata Saikia (The Kitchen Affairs), and Karen Yepthomi, owner of Dzukou tribal kitchen (Hauz Khas main market), are hosting a Pop Up even on North Eastern cuisine on the 1st Feb. Sneha is an amazing cook and an expert in North Eastern cuisine and she is incredibly passionate about increasing awareness about this style of cuisine. So when she said she was doing this event, I was super excited. In her own words she says, 

" There is a misconception that North Eastern cuisine is all about eating snakes and insects, when it's actually a very healthy way of cooking with a use of lots of herbs and ingredients like bamboo shoots, soy beans, pork, duck, etc." 

The amazing ladies behind the Pop Up

Karen is from the Sema tribe of Nagaland and her restaurant specialises in some really delicious Naga food. The Pop Up, which covers all North Eastern food, is being held in a lovely setting, the Dzukou Tribal Kitchen and I absolutely can't wait! If you are curious and would like to attend, here is the link to the page, with all the details. I for one am definitely going to be there!

Here's a peek at the lovely setting where a delicious meal awaits...
drool, drool...

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