Flavours of shared food create and strengthen a special bond among people of diverse nationalities across the globe, the Kerala Tourism Director Mr P. B. Nooh said, as the ten winners of the Kerala Tourism Cuisine Contest 2020-21 wound up their week-long family trip across the state’s northern and central regions.
“The tasteful memories these esteemed guests take on their return to their native countries effectively make them brand ambassadors of Kerala,” he said.
The family trip was offered to the winners by the state government in a unique attempt to promote tourism through the culinary route. Another objective of the contest was to initiate and strengthen interpersonal relations between people of states and countries, besides facilitating better international communication on cultural and culinary matters and widening Kerala’s reputation abroad as a travel destination, Mr Nooh said.
“A history of frequent brush with other cultures through commerce has made Kerala’s food rich and varied. All those European traders who set off for spice trade reached Kerala first,” he recalled. “We must continue to harmonize a range of tastes and continue with our culinary experiments for newer dishes.”
Vidhi Chugh, a prize winner from West Bengal, said she found the trip as one of the best travel experiences she has ever had in her life. Ms Chugh said she and her family will cherish the memories from the trip all her life.
Adina Ioana Panta, a prize winner from Manchester (UK), said she had never experienced such warm hospitality elsewhere in the world. “I feel like moving out from my family as I return to my country,” she added.
The visitors - half of them from abroad - were enormously impressed by Kerala’s natural beauty and local legends. Besides Vidhi Chugh and Adina Panta, the team comprised Morozov Nikita (Kemerovo, Russia), Svetashova Natalia (Russia), Roxana Dana Saila (Bucharest, Romania) and Yuki Shimizu (Tokyo, Japan), alongside Ramalakshmi Sundararajan (Telangana), Jaya Narayan (Maharashtra), Himanandhini Prabakaran (Karnataka) and Vinny Sukanth (Andhra Pradesh).
The guests also got a taste of varied local dishes when they were served ‘Onam sadya’ on plantain leaf at Kozhikode.
The Kerala Cuisine Contest 2020-21 was open to non-Keralites. Initially planned for six months from December 21, 2020 to June 21, 2021 the campaign received an overwhelming response, prompting authorities to extend its duration to August 31, 2021. Overall, there were 11,605 registrants of whom 8,600 were from within India and 3,005 from abroad.