I love Kerala food.
This is probably just as well. Outside of the tourist restaurants, there is little else to eat.
Increasing age brings a somewhat jaded palate. Kerala cuisine, with its abundant use of local produce such as cardamom, black peppers, ginger, garlic and coconut, is an excellent restorative to the fading sense of taste. Dalila, my cook, can always tempt me with her amazing dishes.
But there are two things I miss:
and European cheeses.
Both have fiercely strong tastes. They are almost pungent.
Here bacon is unheard of.
The locally available cheese is processed and bland, having a slightly plastic taste and consistency.
Last week I came across an article in The Hindu, one of India’s national English language newspapers.
It featured “Gourmet House”, a local shop specialising in imported foods.
They sell European cheeses.
This morning saw me riding pillion on a friends motorbike, across to the mainland. I carried a small back-pack.
Stepping into Gourmet House, I felt like a child walking into in a toy-shop at Christmas.
Here was everything I had missed and many items I hadn’t even dreamt of missing.
Half an hour and Rs. 2,250 ( £30 or $50) later, I emerged.
At home I unpacked my luxuries:
Fine blackcurrant jam, Scottish marmalade, sliced pepperoni, Lee & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, pickled gherkins, back bacon,
Mature English cheddar, Red Leicester, French Camembert and Danish Blue.
Combining these culinary treasures with the excellent local bread I have recently sourced, my future lunchtime snacks may be more gourmand than gourmet.
With thanks to John, my dear brother-in-law, for pointing me to this clip.
(The cartoon is taken from “The New Yorker”)