Driving in the 10 most-visited cities in Mauritius

Driving in the 10 most-visited cities in Mauritius

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Pingouin Car Rental Airport Counter Desk
While there are many ways to get around Mauritius, car rentals remain a popular option. From visits to quant villages to coastal Share this: Like Loading… Pingouin Car Rental Airport Counter Desk
While there are many ways to get around Mauritius, car rentals remain a popular option. From visits to quant villages to coastal drives, to visiting cultural attractions and, of course, shopping, getting there by car is the most convenient way to enjoy a trip to Mauritius on your own time.
Pingouin Car Rental is a top car rental company based out of SSR International Airport , making it convenient to hop off the plane and into your car. TravelWireNews Chatroom for Readers (join us)
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At Pingouin Car Rental , customer experience is top priority, and the cost of rental will make your pocketbook very happy. Imagine driving a Mini Cooper, BMW or Kia Sportage around the island, and there’s much more to choose from. And with Pingouin Car Rental, rental is conveniently done online via secured payment processing. Watch how easy it is to rent a car at the airport with Pingouin Car Rental.
Aerial View S.S.R int. Airport
Listen to what customer Richard Mattison has to say about his experience: “I have booked a car online will full payment. On arrival, i had only to present my voucher and the excess amount was blocked. Within three minutes, i was already on my way to my hotel. I advise everyone to pay the 100% online for a swift car delivery. The agents are professional and very responsive. I will not hesitate to book again with Pingouin Car Rental.”
So, get ready to explore Mauritius on your next holiday – it is an island of plenty: plenty of gorgeous beaches, cultural attractions, nature walks, and shopping centers. If you’re visiting on a leisurely vacation, you may want to spend some time exploring at least a few of the island’s ten most visited cities by car.
Plaine Magnien City
Holiday Inn Hotel at Plaine Magnien
Located in southeast Mauritius, Plaine Magnien is a quaint village and home to Mauritius’ only airport: SSR International Airport.
When you arrive on the island, you will first set foot in Plaine Magnien. And this is where we will be waiting for you with the car of your choice that you can drive to your hotel.
With Pingouin Car Rental , you can just check-in online and prepay your rental. They have a pretty large range of rental vehicles, so you can choose one you’re most familiar and comfortable driving. In case of assistance, our 24/7 support team is here for you.
Although there is not much to do in Plaine Magnien, it is of strategic importance. If you’re planning to stay a day or two here, you can visit Tamarind Falls or popular attractions near the village, such as Flic En Flac Beach, Pamplemousses Botanical Garden, La Plantation De Saint Aubin and Caudan Waterfront.
Île aux Cerfs City
Ile aux Cerfs
Île aux Cerfs or Deer Island is a privately-owned island near the island’s east coast. It lies off Trou d’Eau Douce, Mauritius’ largest lagoon and is made of nearly 100 hectares of land.
While its name pays homage to the deer herds that used to inhabit the island, their numbers have decreased and today, visitors and locals come here for wonderful beach experiences.
Relax at a white, sandy beach or indulge in water sports, which range from water skiing to riding in glass bottom or banana boats. Snorkelling is also a popular activity at the beautiful coral reef teeming with rich marine life. If you’re a golfing enthusiast, you can tee off at the island’s 18-hole golf course offering splendid views of the lagoon and emerald waters of the Indian Ocean. After you have worked
up an appetite, stop by at one of the many diverse restaurants, although we recommend trying one that features the local cuisine on its menu.
Blue Bay City
Ile aux des Cocos Island
For stunning scenery and untouched landscapes, visit Blue Bay, a listed Marine Park well-known for its coral beds and amazing marine life.
Make time for a snorkelling adventure on this little bay: you will be amazed at the fuchsia mushroom corals crowning sea beds, and shoals of convict shoalfish, Moorish idols, damselfish and Parrotfish.
Note that the western area of the beach has the richest coral life. If you’re looking for a budget 3-stars apartmentin Blue-Bay, we highly recommend Pingouinvillas for your stay. It is only 8 minutes drive from the SSR Int. Airport. This place is convenient mainly if you have to catch a flight early morning due to its proximity with the airport.
Bagatelle City
Bagatelle Mall
The famous Bagatelle Mall is thronged by tourists and locals alike. Why? The mall has 155 stores and offers the widest selection of specialty stores in Mauritius.
If you intend to shop till you drop, spare some of your time to exploring the brands on offer at the mall and tuck into a delicious treat at its huge food court.
Belle Mare City
Belle Mare Plage Beach
Belle Mare is one of the island’s most picturesque talcum sand beaches. Its water flows along the island’s east coast, which is a less developed tourist area in the region. The blue waters of the 400-meter-long beach sparkle against a backdrop of palm trees and caress soft white sand. It is a nice area for a picnic, with filao trees offering generous shade and fisherman dropping anchor on weekends.
Grand Bay City
Grand Bay Lagoon
The seaside village of Grand Bay (also known as Grand Baie) is located to the island’s north.
It is a popular resort town whose beaches, nightlife and shopping beckon tourists in large numbers. You can enjoy sailing water skiing wind surfing, deep sea fishing or boat excursions to the northern islands.
Shop at local shops that have been in existence for half a century or visit the area’s modern shopping centres. At nightfall, Grand Bay’s bars and night clubs come alive. If travelling with kids, stop by at the local aquarium where you and yours can feed fish and watch sharks.
Trou aux biche City
Trou aux Biches Sandy Beach
Located on the northern coast of Mauritius, the town of Trou aux biche is home to a beach by the same name, which is a famous spot for sunset watching. World Travel Group has rated the beach as one of Mauritius’ most beautiful.
Several tourist resorts and hotels line the beach, although they don’t interfere with the suburban village-like feel. While you’re here, you can visit the island’s largest Hindu temple, play a few rounds at a local golf course and check out the Mauritius Aquarium mentioned above.
Port Louis City
Port Louis Harbour View
Port Louis is Mauritius’ capital city and home to many cultural attractions. Visit Blue Penny Museum to see the world’s first colonial stamp. Boast about seeing an ancient dodo skeleton at the Natural History Museum. Learn about the island’s religious diversity at a local church, Indian temples, Chinese places of worship and mosques. Take a stroll up Signal Mountain to marvel at the cityscape at sunset.
Tamarin City
Tamarin Crystal Islet
Located on the west coast of Mauritius, Tamarin is home to the Tamarin Bay, a popular surfing spot. It is also a dolphin spotting area, with many boat companies offering trips to watch and swim with dolphins in the mornings. The salt pans of Tamarin are a sought-after attraction – it is the only place on the island that continues producing salt in the traditional, artisanal way, continuing a heritage dating over 200 years. As you drive around, you will see how locals harvest salt, which feeds all of Mauritius.
Le Morne City
Le Morne Brabant Mountain Aerial View
Depending on your individual interests, the village of Le Morne can be the place where you engage in a surfing adventure or one where you relax at a white sandy beach or tee off at a golf course. The One Eye surf spot at Le Morne is world-famous among the surfing community. It is so called because of its fast left tube that traces the shape of an eye before breaking on the shallow reef.
Logo sign Pingouin Car on Hyundai 120
In this artcle, we have highlighted the uniqueness and main features of the 10 most-visited cities in Mauritius. So, next time you’re visiting Mauritius Island, get this guide in hand and you know what is the best way to rent a car in Mauritius once you get out of the airport. Share this:

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Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains

Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains By Charukesi Ramadurai • 3 hours ago Some of the 20 different types of rice used during the three-month festival Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. Chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. Salam Olattayil / for NPR
Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar fondly remembers her father’s love for rice — and his insistence on having specific kinds of rice — with each special meat or fish dish cooked in their kitchen.
She even has memories of him making long road trips from their home in Kolkata, India, to other parts of the state of West Bengal to buy local rice. What motivated him, she says, was not just his interest in food but also nostalgia for his childhood.
Edible Archives was born partly from this recollection, with chef Anurima Ghosh Dastidar as curator, along with chef Prima Kurien and two food writers who were also invited to cook.
India is known to have cultivated thousands of varieties of rice, and references to rice — also combined with vegetables and meat, an ancient precursor to biryani, which came from Persia — have been found in Sangam literature from the 5th century B.C. Even a century ago, communities across India grew their own strains of rice, and consumed them according to the needs of the season or the cuisine.
During the Green Revolution in the 1960s, when machinery replaced manual work and “high-yield variety” seeds were promoted, agricultural output increased dramatically, but a few hybrid rice strains took over from hundreds of indigenous ones.
The Edible Archives Project aims to showcase the sheer range of rice varieties grown in India, and throw the spotlight specifically on those which have almost vanished from the country’s foodscape or are grown only in small communities. Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar scoops Kattuyanam (a red rice from Tamil Nadu), into bowls at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. She is instrumental in both rice research and cooking for the Edible Archives project. Courtesy of Edible Archives
“We don’t document anything in India, so most of the old rice strains are gone, and the expert knowledge about them too,” says Jayanthi Somasundaram, whose Spirit of the Earth collective sources and sells several varieties of organic heritage rice, including a few for this project.
Edible Archives formally opened at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale , an art festival that ran from Dec. 12 through March 29 in the south Indian city of Kochi, currently in its fourth edition. At the event, the chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. All of this was in what Dastidar calls “homestyle cooking” (as opposed to what is passed off in restaurants, especially outside India, as classic Indian cuisine, like butter chicken), using local vegetables such as drumstick ( moringa in vegetable form) and gourds. Writer-chef Priya Bala adds that the idea was also to present not just rice in all its glory, but preserve the dwindling knowledge about cooking methods, as well as revive lost recipes.
To spice things up, the chefs also played with fusion presentations, such as a Korean marinated egg over the aromatic Tulaipanji rice from West Bengal (a hit combination, as it turned out) and the Chicken Pepian, a Guatemalan Maya dish paired with the white, sweetish Chini Atap rice, also from the same Indian state, to complement the robust smokiness of the meat. “Most importantly, the chefs also explained how pairing works, so as to balance all flavors and fragrances,” Somasundaram says.
In three months, the team cooked with nearly 40 rice varieties from all over India, many of them not familiar to anyone outside the region of cultivation — like the Bahurupi from the state of Odisha or the Kattuyanam from Tamil Nadu. The rice of the day was described on a board at the venue, and on the social media pages of Edible Archives.
Drawing from her own nostalgia, Dastidar says that most Indians have “an archive of rice memories, which we wanted to bring together.” In the midst of all the cooking and eating, there was also a two-day workshop called “Recipes of Rice and Remembrance” that included talks, cooking demonstrations, reminiscences and even songs related to rice.
Speaking of the latter, Bala points out that rice has found a place in Indian culture and literature over the ages, from a Bengali lullaby asking the angel aunties to come and put the baby to sleep, promising them delicious food in return — including three types of rice — to devotional songs from the state of Tamil Nadu that equate rice with prosperity.
Indeed, rice has been an important, exceptional part of Indian rituals — from the ceremony during which a baby is first fed mashed rice as solid food , to the turmeric-infused yellow rice showered as blessing at weddings, to the final journey, where rice is an offering to the departed soul. Even the sick are fed kanji or khichuri (loose rice porridge, with or without lentils) as comfort food.
Dastidar has trained in Italian, Japanese and Thai cuisines, and learned how chefs in those countries tend to focus on grains from their own microregions. Much before the Edible Archives idea took shape, Dastidar was experimenting with rice varieties; think Manipuri Black Rice Risotto (a grain with starch content similar to Arborio) at New Delhi’s popular restaurant Diva, where she was sous chef for many years.
With this experience, she traveled across the country to source the rice for Edible Archives — all of it was bought directly from small farmers or through agriculture collectives and non-governmental organizations who worked with cultivators. The exploratory phase included inputs from experts such as Dr. Debal Deb, who has researched and grown 1,300 varieties of rice at his farm Basudha in Odisha, and organic farmer Syed Ghani Khan, who established a rice museum in Karnataka that is home to more than 850 varieties. One of the rice bowls served at the festival, this dish contains Kattuyanam, along with roasted pumpkin, cauliflower, ridge gourd, mango, dal, and cucumber salad and mustard microgreens. Courtesy of Edible Archives
Along with creating a record of cultural connotations and memories, Edible Archives also shared nutritional information about the rice of the day, trying to dispel the myth that rice is just a “bad carb.” Case in point are two varieties from Tamil Nadu, where rice is the staple: Kattuyanam and Seeraga Samba, the former with a low glycemic index that makes it ideal for diabetics, and the latter highly fibrous and rich in selenium to fight colon and intestinal cancers. The chefs gleaned this information from scientific articles and agricultural journals, as well as from Basudha’s in-house magazine.
In the future, Edible Archives plans to hold pop-up events across the country and eventually abroad. There have already been a few in Indian cities, and one in Paris coming up in June that will focus on cuisine from India’s seven northeast states, which are still largely under-explored in terms of tourism, culture and cuisine. The chefs say they mean to keep the dialogue going with talks and lectures “wherever food and culture meet.”
As Bala puts it, “we need to continue the celebration of a grain that is sustenance, comfort, nutrition and auspiciousness all at once.”
Charukesi Ramadurai is a freelance journalist from India, writing about travel, food, art and culture for BBC Travel, The Guardian, Forbes and National Geographic Traveller (India), among others. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @charukesi Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 Interlochen

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Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains

Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains By Charukesi Ramadurai • 1 hour ago Some of the 20 different types of rice used during the three-month festival Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. Chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. Salam Olattayil / for NPR
Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar fondly remembers her father’s love for rice — and his insistence on having specific kinds of rice — with each special meat or fish dish cooked in their kitchen.
She even has memories of him making long road trips from their home in Kolkata, India, to other parts of the state of West Bengal to buy local rice. What motivated him, she says, was not just his interest in food but also nostalgia for his childhood.
Edible Archives was born partly from this recollection, with chef Anurima Ghosh Dastidar as curator, along with chef Prima Kurien and two food writers who were also invited to cook.
India is known to have cultivated thousands of varieties of rice, and references to rice — also combined with vegetables and meat, an ancient precursor to biryani, which came from Persia — have been found in Sangam literature from the 5th century B.C. Even a century ago, communities across India grew their own strains of rice, and consumed them according to the needs of the season or the cuisine.
During the Green Revolution in the 1960s, when machinery replaced manual work and “high-yield variety” seeds were promoted, agricultural output increased dramatically, but a few hybrid rice strains took over from hundreds of indigenous ones.
The Edible Archives Project aims to showcase the sheer range of rice varieties grown in India, and throw the spotlight specifically on those which have almost vanished from the country’s foodscape or are grown only in small communities. Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar scoops Kattuyanam (a red rice from Tamil Nadu), into bowls at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. She is instrumental in both rice research and cooking for the Edible Archives project. Courtesy of Edible Archives
“We don’t document anything in India, so most of the old rice strains are gone, and the expert knowledge about them too,” says Jayanthi Somasundaram, whose Spirit of the Earth collective sources and sells several varieties of organic heritage rice, including a few for this project.
Edible Archives formally opened at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale , an art festival that ran from Dec. 12 through March 29 in the south Indian city of Kochi, currently in its fourth edition. At the event, the chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. All of this was in what Dastidar calls “homestyle cooking” (as opposed to what is passed off in restaurants, especially outside India, as classic Indian cuisine, like butter chicken), using local vegetables such as drumstick ( moringa in vegetable form) and gourds. Writer-chef Priya Bala adds that the idea was also to present not just rice in all its glory, but preserve the dwindling knowledge about cooking methods, as well as revive lost recipes.
To spice things up, the chefs also played with fusion presentations, such as a Korean marinated egg over the aromatic Tulaipanji rice from West Bengal (a hit combination, as it turned out) and the Chicken Pepian, a Guatemalan Maya dish paired with the white, sweetish Chini Atap rice, also from the same Indian state, to complement the robust smokiness of the meat. “Most importantly, the chefs also explained how pairing works, so as to balance all flavors and fragrances,” Somasundaram says.
In three months, the team cooked with nearly 40 rice varieties from all over India, many of them not familiar to anyone outside the region of cultivation — like the Bahurupi from the state of Odisha or the Kattuyanam from Tamil Nadu. The rice of the day was described on a board at the venue, and on the social media pages of Edible Archives.
Drawing from her own nostalgia, Dastidar says that most Indians have “an archive of rice memories, which we wanted to bring together.” In the midst of all the cooking and eating, there was also a two-day workshop called “Recipes of Rice and Remembrance” that included talks, cooking demonstrations, reminiscences and even songs related to rice.
Speaking of the latter, Bala points out that rice has found a place in Indian culture and literature over the ages, from a Bengali lullaby asking the angel aunties to come and put the baby to sleep, promising them delicious food in return — including three types of rice — to devotional songs from the state of Tamil Nadu that equate rice with prosperity.
Indeed, rice has been an important, exceptional part of Indian rituals — from the ceremony during which a baby is first fed mashed rice as solid food , to the turmeric-infused yellow rice showered as blessing at weddings, to the final journey, where rice is an offering to the departed soul. Even the sick are fed kanji or khichuri (loose rice porridge, with or without lentils) as comfort food.
Dastidar has trained in Italian, Japanese and Thai cuisines, and learned how chefs in those countries tend to focus on grains from their own microregions. Much before the Edible Archives idea took shape, Dastidar was experimenting with rice varieties; think Manipuri Black Rice Risotto (a grain with starch content similar to Arborio) at New Delhi’s popular restaurant Diva, where she was sous chef for many years.
With this experience, she traveled across the country to source the rice for Edible Archives — all of it was bought directly from small farmers or through agriculture collectives and non-governmental organizations who worked with cultivators. The exploratory phase included inputs from experts such as Dr. Debal Deb, who has researched and grown 1,300 varieties of rice at his farm Basudha in Odisha, and organic farmer Syed Ghani Khan, who established a rice museum in Karnataka that is home to more than 850 varieties. One of the rice bowls served at the festival, this dish contains Kattuyanam, along with roasted pumpkin, cauliflower, ridge gourd, mango, dal, and cucumber salad and mustard microgreens. Courtesy of Edible Archives
Along with creating a record of cultural connotations and memories, Edible Archives also shared nutritional information about the rice of the day, trying to dispel the myth that rice is just a “bad carb.” Case in point are two varieties from Tamil Nadu, where rice is the staple: Kattuyanam and Seeraga Samba, the former with a low glycemic index that makes it ideal for diabetics, and the latter highly fibrous and rich in selenium to fight colon and intestinal cancers. The chefs gleaned this information from scientific articles and agricultural journals, as well as from Basudha’s in-house magazine.
In the future, Edible Archives plans to hold pop-up events across the country and eventually abroad. There have already been a few in Indian cities, and one in Paris coming up in June that will focus on cuisine from India’s seven northeast states, which are still largely under-explored in terms of tourism, culture and cuisine. The chefs say they mean to keep the dialogue going with talks and lectures “wherever food and culture meet.”
As Bala puts it, “we need to continue the celebration of a grain that is sustenance, comfort, nutrition and auspiciousness all at once.”
Charukesi Ramadurai is a freelance journalist from India, writing about travel, food, art and culture for BBC Travel, The Guardian, Forbes and National Geographic Traveller (India), among others. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @charukesi Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 91.5 KIOS-FM

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Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains

Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains By Charukesi Ramadurai • 7 hours ago Some of the 20 different types of rice used during the three-month festival Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. Chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. Salam Olattayil / for NPR
Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar fondly remembers her father’s love for rice — and his insistence on having specific kinds of rice — with each special meat or fish dish cooked in their kitchen.
She even has memories of him making long road trips from their home in Kolkata, India, to other parts of the state of West Bengal to buy local rice. What motivated him, she says, was not just his interest in food but also nostalgia for his childhood.
Edible Archives was born partly from this recollection, with chef Anurima Ghosh Dastidar as curator, along with chef Prima Kurien and two food writers who were also invited to cook.
India is known to have cultivated thousands of varieties of rice, and references to rice — also combined with vegetables and meat, an ancient precursor to biryani, which came from Persia — have been found in Sangam literature from the 5th century B.C. Even a century ago, communities across India grew their own strains of rice, and consumed them according to the needs of the season or the cuisine.
During the Green Revolution in the 1960s, when machinery replaced manual work and “high-yield variety” seeds were promoted, agricultural output increased dramatically, but a few hybrid rice strains took over from hundreds of indigenous ones.
The Edible Archives Project aims to showcase the sheer range of rice varieties grown in India, and throw the spotlight specifically on those which have almost vanished from the country’s foodscape or are grown only in small communities. Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar scoops Kattuyanam (a red rice from Tamil Nadu), into bowls at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. She is instrumental in both rice research and cooking for the Edible Archives project. Courtesy of Edible Archives
“We don’t document anything in India, so most of the old rice strains are gone, and the expert knowledge about them too,” says Jayanthi Somasundaram, whose Spirit of the Earth collective sources and sells several varieties of organic heritage rice, including a few for this project.
Edible Archives formally opened at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale , an art festival that ran from Dec. 12 through March 29 in the south Indian city of Kochi, currently in its fourth edition. At the event, the chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. All of this was in what Dastidar calls “homestyle cooking” (as opposed to what is passed off in restaurants, especially outside India, as classic Indian cuisine, like butter chicken), using local vegetables such as drumstick ( moringa in vegetable form) and gourds. Writer-chef Priya Bala adds that the idea was also to present not just rice in all its glory, but preserve the dwindling knowledge about cooking methods, as well as revive lost recipes.
To spice things up, the chefs also played with fusion presentations, such as a Korean marinated egg over the aromatic Tulaipanji rice from West Bengal (a hit combination, as it turned out) and the Chicken Pepian, a Guatemalan Maya dish paired with the white, sweetish Chini Atap rice, also from the same Indian state, to complement the robust smokiness of the meat. “Most importantly, the chefs also explained how pairing works, so as to balance all flavors and fragrances,” Somasundaram says.
In three months, the team cooked with nearly 40 rice varieties from all over India, many of them not familiar to anyone outside the region of cultivation — like the Bahurupi from the state of Odisha or the Kattuyanam from Tamil Nadu. The rice of the day was described on a board at the venue, and on the social media pages of Edible Archives.
Drawing from her own nostalgia, Dastidar says that most Indians have “an archive of rice memories, which we wanted to bring together.” In the midst of all the cooking and eating, there was also a two-day workshop called “Recipes of Rice and Remembrance” that included talks, cooking demonstrations, reminiscences and even songs related to rice.
Speaking of the latter, Bala points out that rice has found a place in Indian culture and literature over the ages, from a Bengali lullaby asking the angel aunties to come and put the baby to sleep, promising them delicious food in return — including three types of rice — to devotional songs from the state of Tamil Nadu that equate rice with prosperity.
Indeed, rice has been an important, exceptional part of Indian rituals — from the ceremony during which a baby is first fed mashed rice as solid food , to the turmeric-infused yellow rice showered as blessing at weddings, to the final journey, where rice is an offering to the departed soul. Even the sick are fed kanji or khichuri (loose rice porridge, with or without lentils) as comfort food.
Dastidar has trained in Italian, Japanese and Thai cuisines, and learned how chefs in those countries tend to focus on grains from their own microregions. Much before the Edible Archives idea took shape, Dastidar was experimenting with rice varieties; think Manipuri Black Rice Risotto (a grain with starch content similar to Arborio) at New Delhi’s popular restaurant Diva, where she was sous chef for many years.
With this experience, she traveled across the country to source the rice for Edible Archives — all of it was bought directly from small farmers or through agriculture collectives and non-governmental organizations who worked with cultivators. The exploratory phase included inputs from experts such as Dr. Debal Deb, who has researched and grown 1,300 varieties of rice at his farm Basudha in Odisha, and organic farmer Syed Ghani Khan, who established a rice museum in Karnataka that is home to more than 850 varieties. One of the rice bowls served at the festival, this dish contains Kattuyanam, along with roasted pumpkin, cauliflower, ridge gourd, mango, dal, and cucumber salad and mustard microgreens. Courtesy of Edible Archives
Along with creating a record of cultural connotations and memories, Edible Archives also shared nutritional information about the rice of the day, trying to dispel the myth that rice is just a “bad carb.” Case in point are two varieties from Tamil Nadu, where rice is the staple: Kattuyanam and Seeraga Samba, the former with a low glycemic index that makes it ideal for diabetics, and the latter highly fibrous and rich in selenium to fight colon and intestinal cancers. The chefs gleaned this information from scientific articles and agricultural journals, as well as from Basudha’s in-house magazine.
In the future, Edible Archives plans to hold pop-up events across the country and eventually abroad. There have already been a few in Indian cities, and one in Paris coming up in June that will focus on cuisine from India’s seven northeast states, which are still largely under-explored in terms of tourism, culture and cuisine. The chefs say they mean to keep the dialogue going with talks and lectures “wherever food and culture meet.”
As Bala puts it, “we need to continue the celebration of a grain that is sustenance, comfort, nutrition and auspiciousness all at once.”
Charukesi Ramadurai is a freelance journalist from India, writing about travel, food, art and culture for BBC Travel, The Guardian, Forbes and National Geographic Traveller (India), among others. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @charukesi Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 KOSU

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Here Are 8 Can’t-Miss Food and Drink Festivals in Greater Palm Springs Every Foodie Must Attend

April 12, 2019 These 8 Greater Palm Springs Food and Drink Festivals Will Keep You Coming to the Desert Year-Round
Written By: Crystal Harrell Photos Provided By: Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau
Greater Palm Springs is known for its festivals, from Coachella to the Palm Springs International Film Festival , but this desert paradise has even more food festivals to offer that will make your stomach growl and your mouth water. These delectable events offer one-of-a-kind cuisine and beverages to attendees every year—some of which are so famous, they have earned national recognition. From authentic Mexican dishes to exquisite craft beer, Greater Palm Springs provides a flavorful getaway with yearly food festivals that are guaranteed to make you want to grab a plate and come back for a second helping.
Restaurant Week 2019: May 31 – June 9
Taking place May 31 through June 9, Restaurant Week returns in a 10-day dining extravaganza at various restaurants in the Coachella Valley. Over 100 eating establishments are participating in this year’s Restaurant Week with special menus and deals at set prices for lunch and dinner. No passes are required for this event, but it is encouraged that guests make reservations in advance, as the restaurants can get crowded. Restaurants that have participated in Restaurant Week in the past include Lavender Bistro in La Quinta, The Nest in Indian Wells, Jackalope Ranch in Indio and Acqua California Bistro in Rancho Mirage.
Various restaurants throughout Greater Palm Springs
Brew at the Zoo: February 9
Taking place among the breathtaking desert plants and wildlife at The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens , over 30 vendors are represented at the Brew at the Zoo event. Many of the region’s finest specialty breweries, wineries, liquor and even some non-alcoholic beverages will be represented on the grounds. Tethered balloon rides are also a new feature of Brew at the Zoo , where you can see the luscious zoo grounds from up above for an additional price. Even though The Living Desert is considered to be family friendly, this event is 21+ only and all visitors must present a valid photo I.D. for admittance. The general admission ticket price covers includes unlimited beer and food samples, entertainment and animal encounters. Non-members of the Living Desert pay $65 dollars, members pay $60 and designated drivers pay only $20.

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Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains

Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains By Charukesi Ramadurai • 1 hour ago Some of the 20 different types of rice used during the three-month festival Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. Chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. Salam Olattayil / for NPR
Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar fondly remembers her father’s love for rice — and his insistence on having specific kinds of rice — with each special meat or fish dish cooked in their kitchen.
She even has memories of him making long road trips from their home in Kolkata, India, to other parts of the state of West Bengal to buy local rice. What motivated him, she says, was not just his interest in food but also nostalgia for his childhood.
Edible Archives was born partly from this recollection, with chef Anurima Ghosh Dastidar as curator, along with chef Prima Kurien and two food writers who were also invited to cook.
India is known to have cultivated thousands of varieties of rice, and references to rice — also combined with vegetables and meat, an ancient precursor to biryani, which came from Persia — have been found in Sangam literature from the 5th century B.C. Even a century ago, communities across India grew their own strains of rice, and consumed them according to the needs of the season or the cuisine.
During the Green Revolution in the 1960s, when machinery replaced manual work and “high-yield variety” seeds were promoted, agricultural output increased dramatically, but a few hybrid rice strains took over from hundreds of indigenous ones.
The Edible Archives Project aims to showcase the sheer range of rice varieties grown in India, and throw the spotlight specifically on those which have almost vanished from the country’s foodscape or are grown only in small communities. Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar scoops Kattuyanam (a red rice from Tamil Nadu), into bowls at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. She is instrumental in both rice research and cooking for the Edible Archives project. Courtesy of Edible Archives
“We don’t document anything in India, so most of the old rice strains are gone, and the expert knowledge about them too,” says Jayanthi Somasundaram, whose Spirit of the Earth collective sources and sells several varieties of organic heritage rice, including a few for this project.
Edible Archives formally opened at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale , an art festival that ran from Dec. 12 through March 29 in the south Indian city of Kochi, currently in its fourth edition. At the event, the chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. All of this was in what Dastidar calls “homestyle cooking” (as opposed to what is passed off in restaurants, especially outside India, as classic Indian cuisine, like butter chicken), using local vegetables such as drumstick ( moringa in vegetable form) and gourds. Writer-chef Priya Bala adds that the idea was also to present not just rice in all its glory, but preserve the dwindling knowledge about cooking methods, as well as revive lost recipes.
To spice things up, the chefs also played with fusion presentations, such as a Korean marinated egg over the aromatic Tulaipanji rice from West Bengal (a hit combination, as it turned out) and the Chicken Pepian, a Guatemalan Maya dish paired with the white, sweetish Chini Atap rice, also from the same Indian state, to complement the robust smokiness of the meat. “Most importantly, the chefs also explained how pairing works, so as to balance all flavors and fragrances,” Somasundaram says.
In three months, the team cooked with nearly 40 rice varieties from all over India, many of them not familiar to anyone outside the region of cultivation — like the Bahurupi from the state of Odisha or the Kattuyanam from Tamil Nadu. The rice of the day was described on a board at the venue, and on the social media pages of Edible Archives.
Drawing from her own nostalgia, Dastidar says that most Indians have “an archive of rice memories, which we wanted to bring together.” In the midst of all the cooking and eating, there was also a two-day workshop called “Recipes of Rice and Remembrance” that included talks, cooking demonstrations, reminiscences and even songs related to rice.
Speaking of the latter, Bala points out that rice has found a place in Indian culture and literature over the ages, from a Bengali lullaby asking the angel aunties to come and put the baby to sleep, promising them delicious food in return — including three types of rice — to devotional songs from the state of Tamil Nadu that equate rice with prosperity.
Indeed, rice has been an important, exceptional part of Indian rituals — from the ceremony during which a baby is first fed mashed rice as solid food , to the turmeric-infused yellow rice showered as blessing at weddings, to the final journey, where rice is an offering to the departed soul. Even the sick are fed kanji or khichuri (loose rice porridge, with or without lentils) as comfort food.
Dastidar has trained in Italian, Japanese and Thai cuisines, and learned how chefs in those countries tend to focus on grains from their own microregions. Much before the Edible Archives idea took shape, Dastidar was experimenting with rice varieties; think Manipuri Black Rice Risotto (a grain with starch content similar to Arborio) at New Delhi’s popular restaurant Diva, where she was sous chef for many years.
With this experience, she traveled across the country to source the rice for Edible Archives — all of it was bought directly from small farmers or through agriculture collectives and non-governmental organizations who worked with cultivators. The exploratory phase included inputs from experts such as Dr. Debal Deb, who has researched and grown 1,300 varieties of rice at his farm Basudha in Odisha, and organic farmer Syed Ghani Khan, who established a rice museum in Karnataka that is home to more than 850 varieties. One of the rice bowls served at the festival, this dish contains Kattuyanam, along with roasted pumpkin, cauliflower, ridge gourd, mango, dal, and cucumber salad and mustard microgreens. Courtesy of Edible Archives
Along with creating a record of cultural connotations and memories, Edible Archives also shared nutritional information about the rice of the day, trying to dispel the myth that rice is just a “bad carb.” Case in point are two varieties from Tamil Nadu, where rice is the staple: Kattuyanam and Seeraga Samba, the former with a low glycemic index that makes it ideal for diabetics, and the latter highly fibrous and rich in selenium to fight colon and intestinal cancers. The chefs gleaned this information from scientific articles and agricultural journals, as well as from Basudha’s in-house magazine.
In the future, Edible Archives plans to hold pop-up events across the country and eventually abroad. There have already been a few in Indian cities, and one in Paris coming up in June that will focus on cuisine from India’s seven northeast states, which are still largely under-explored in terms of tourism, culture and cuisine. The chefs say they mean to keep the dialogue going with talks and lectures “wherever food and culture meet.”
As Bala puts it, “we need to continue the celebration of a grain that is sustenance, comfort, nutrition and auspiciousness all at once.”
Charukesi Ramadurai is a freelance journalist from India, writing about travel, food, art and culture for BBC Travel, The Guardian, Forbes and National Geographic Traveller (India), among others. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @charukesi Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee’s College of Letters & Science © 2019 WUWM

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The Fish Are Always With Us So Spice Them Up Kerala Style!

I always knew I was in a mixed marriage . We were married by both a priest and a rabbi in two separate ceremonies. I’ve been vegetarian, and even vegan off and on for years. I cooked meat for Alan, but now he’s changed it up. I am now living with a piscetarian. Last year Alan changed his eating habits and has now come over to eating more like me. He’s getting a lot of vegan and vegetarian meals, his butter has been swapped out for olive oil, and there’s almond milk in his latte instead of the regular whole milk. Lots of healthy changes and the biggest for him has been fish.
I grew up going to Catholic school and eating fish on Fridays. Fish was not a big part of his life, unless you count the sturgeon at Barney Greengrass and even for me, my mother practiced what I like to call Brutalist Cuisine. Fish was cooked into carbon covered with breading, cakes came out raw molten in the middle. The oven was never preheated, one just turned it on shoved the food in and hoped for the best. Directions and recipes? Those are for suckers. Thoughts and prayers was what we used. None of this was accidental, this was deliberate. This was how things were cooked at Fran’s house. Did I mention she didn’t like to cook? A lot of it was based on the fact that she never thought she would ever have to cook, but hey, she married the immigrant’s son her family didn’t like, so the money-train pulled out of the station and she got behind the stove.
My moms fish skills even gave me fish trauma. It took quite a while to learn that fish could actually be fantastic if cooked correctly, and when I started cooking Indian food nearly 30 years ago, I discovered Indian cuisine has lots of amazing fish recipes from all parts of the subcontinent. Some of the best come from Kerala and since Alan was no longer demanding meat every day, but was open to the idea of fish in his diet, I got to work introducing him to some great Indian fish dishes.
It’s one thing to cook on a weekend with time aplenty, but I cook every day in the middle of a writing schedule, so what I cook on weekdays has to be relatively quick and easy. Our main meal is lunch at midday, Alan has an early dinner of the left-overs, or I cook something simple for him. I eat a few vegetables and then we basically fast for about 12 to 15 hours until the next morning. So a good hearty lunch is important. Fast, healthy, filling. That’s the name of the game, which is why I love this recipe.
Spicy Kerala Baked Fish
Here’s What You Need:
4 fillets of fish. I used cod for this recipe
2 large shallots
1 Tbs Kashmiri chili
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Coriander powder
A few good grinds of black pepper
2 tsp of shallot/ginger paste
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp coconut, oilive or other vegetable oil.
1 tsp chopped curry leaves
salt to taste.
Here’s What To Do: Pat the cod fillets dry with a paper towel, and place them on a plate.
Put the ginger and shallot into a grinder or food processor…
…and grind to a paste.
Measure out 2 tsp, and store the rest for another use.
Now place the 2 tsp back into the grinder and add everything else listed above.
When it’s all ground together, rub it on the fish fillets.
Coat the fish on both sides.
Pop the fish into the fridge for 1/2 to 1 hour to marinate.
Meanwhile, preheat the over to 400 degrees.
Take a baking sheet, cover it with foil and brush it with oil.
When you’re ready to cook, place the fish fillets on the baking sheet, spaced an inch apart and bake uncovered for about 15 minutes, then turn the fish fillets over and bake for another 15 minutes.
I served this with Cashew Rice and an Indian creamed spinach.
Spicy hot, slightly crispy, lying on a bed of rice studded with cashews, and sultana raisins, it hit the spot taste-wise and time-wise, and the leftovers reheated up easily for Alan’s dinner that night. He loved it and it’s going in my regular rotation. I think he’d have started eating fish a long time ago if he’d had recipes like this, as it’s a great dish for the fish-curious.
Next week we’re starting our planting for this year’s vegetable crop. I’ve missed the ability to get most of our groceries out of the back yard. We’ve been hit with the atmospheric river so many times this winter that things are just bursting into bloom, so I’m looking forward to bumper crops in everything. Coming up next what the garden brings me. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

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Friday Favorites April 12

Books: I’m currently reading He Leadeth Me by Father Walter J. Ciszek, S.J. , which is the second of his memoirs from the 23 years he spent as a political prisoner in Russia and in a work camp in Siberia. In this second book, Father Ciszek was able to spend more time describing his spiritual life as he struggled to survive his horrendous experiences in under Communism.
Podcasts: Returning once again to the three lovely hostesses of Abiding Together, I really enjoyed their podcast with Dr. Bob Schuchts, who is a marriage and family therapist and has written several books on spiritual and psychological healing.
Music: This week I’m listening to Matthew West’s song Unplanned from the movie.
Articles: This article and slideshow on Aleteia explores the beautiful symbolism between the chalice used a Mass and the burial of Jesus.
Videos: I know I’m late to the table, but I’ve been catching up on the hit TV show This is Us on Hulu. What a great concept that is wonderfully executed. The characters are very relatable and easy to identify with and the strong family message the show promotes really resonates with me. Chris isn’t one for emotional dramas, so I binge this show on my own when he’s traveling.
Shops: Our daughter, Nadja, purchased hand-made Norwegian Solje earrings as bridesmaid’s gifts from this unique Etsy shop . I have an antique set of pewter Solje earrings that were a gift from an aunt and the creations from KAStrainKreations are almost identical in quality and very reasonably priced. The bridesmaids all adored their gifts.
Food: My family loves authentic Indian cuisine and one of our favorites is Vindaloo. This recipe makes a very close replica of the vindaloo we’ve had in Indian restaurants.
Prayer: Yesterday I began the Seven Sorrows Rosary Novena for my dear friend Christine, who was diagnosed with pre-cancerous growth in her colon and has been recommended for partial to full removal of her colon. We are praying for healing and that surgery might be put aside completely.

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A Full Recap of the Millennial Travel Forum Los Angeles

Last updated: 04:31 PM ET, Thu April 11 2019 A Full Recap of the Millennial Travel Forum Los Angeles
Travel Agent Joe Pike April 11, 2019 PHOTO: Hollywood sign. (photo via Unsplash/Ahmet Yalcinkaya)
While most traditional meet-and-greets during travel industry events involve a casual gathering in a hotel lobby with name tags and champagne, Los Angeles decided to use a different approach to welcome the 13 top-selling millennial agents to the first domestic Millennial Travel Forum (MTF) .
A luxury box at the LA Galaxy soccer game instead served as the sight of the first official event of the Millennial Travel Forum, which concluded last week in the City of Angels.
“We were honored to host the kick-off event for the Millennial Travel Forum. For many of the travel advisors, it was their first [Major League Soccer] game, so it was nice to see how eager they were to learn about the LA Galaxy,” said Chris Klein, president of the team. “We are looking forward to continuing to grow our footprint in tourism and develop one-of-a-kind experiences that leave lasting impressions with fans across the world.”
“I am not even a soccer fan,” said Brittany Bridgewater, an advisor with TravelSmiths, Inc., “but seeing how passionate the fans are about cheering on the home team makes this an exciting night out for anyone and everyone.”
The Millennial Travel Forum, which took place in L.A. from March 31 – April 4, was first launched by travAlliancemedia last year to showcase millennial travel agents as the industry’s real influencers. It is a multi-day, hosted event that brings an intimate group of carefully-vetted millennial travel experts to a specific destination in the U.S. and around the world.
“We were fortunate to host such a highly-engaged group of travel advisors in Los Angeles for the MTF as they provided thoughtful insight and feedback throughout the four-day program,” said Tamy Martelli, the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board’s regional director for the U.S. and Canada. “It was especially great to connect with each of these agents individually to learn about the various clients they serve and how they use social media. We look forward to having an ongoing, open dialogue with these influential travel advisors.”
For the Millennial Travel Forum Los Angeles, agents were personally invited by the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board through an application process that centered around such criteria as sales volume, familiarity with the destination, and both the number and quality of the advisors’ social media followers.
“The Millennial Travel Forum was an excellent experience all around. Getting to know Los Angeles was invaluable, as it is a multi-faceted city with so much to offer to a variety of travelers,” said Kacie Darden, owner of Blue Pineapple Travel in Atlanta. “I thought the mix of experiences and meetings with L.A. attractions, hotels, and venues was a perfect balance for learning the destination. I feel prepared to help my clients curate an incredible trip to LA after the Millennial Travel Forum. I made fantastic connections with other travel advisors and also with L.A. suppliers that I am excited to engage in future business.”
Here’s a full breakdown of the event. Check out pictures of the journey taken by the attendees by clicking here for all of their social media handles. Also, be sure to use hashtags #MTFLosAngeles and #discoverLA on all social media platforms to see all posts from the event.
Health and Wellness at the Forefront
For a destination known for its healthy-living lifestyle, it was no surprise that agents in attendance raved about the city’s offerings for the active traveler.
Among the health and wellness highlights shared by the agents was a hike through the Hollywood Hills at Griffith Park, culminating with photos in front of the iconic Hollywood sign.
“Being an active person, I really enjoyed the hike to see the Hollywood sign,” said Ryan Doncsecz, an advisor with VIP Vacations, Inc. in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. “It had the right amount of challenge, and we did a 2.5-to-three-mile version. Tons of great area views and city shots, and perfect locations to grab that Instagram-worthy Hollywood sign shot.”
Another healthy highlight was rooftop yoga at OUE Skyspace LA. After all, simple yoga isn’t wowing people anymore. Health and wellness offerings need to have a wrinkle now. And doing yoga while overlooking an iconic city definitely qualifies as a unique touch to traditional practice.
“Los Angeles is an underrated city for wellness,” said Leah Bilquist, an advisor with TravelSmiths, Inc. in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. “Your weekend getaway could include rooftop yoga at OUE Skyscape or a hike in the Hollywood Hills. Also, there are great dining options from fresh pressed juice bars to delicious sushi restaurants. You will leave feeling more refreshed than when you got arrived in the city.”
Food and Beverage
Speaking of the “delicious” dining options, the 13 agents were all treated to some of L.A. finest cuisines and tastiest adult beverages.
Among the culinary highlights of the Millennial Travel Forum was a food tour by Avital Food Tours, featuring cuisine most visitors to L.A. would be pleasantly surprised to find from top-notch Indian restaurants to a restaurant specializing in Mediterranean-fusion.
The tour ended with a mixology lesson at Clayton’s Public House, which has a very retro Hollywood theme. Case in point can be found on the bar’s walls, which include the bedroom door of Charlie Chaplin’s old room at the iconic Ace Hotel.
Agents then took part in a bar-hopping tour with LA Beer Hop that featured some of the city’s best, locally-brewed craft beers.
Other food and beverage highlights from the forum included a farewell dinner at Terra, a wood-burning Italian grill restaurant located within Eataly L.A.; cocktails at the Broken Shaker, located on the rooftop pool deck of The Freehand Hotel; dinner at Openaire, which is located within The LINE Hotel and specializes in sharable dishes of some of L.A. best meat and seafood options, and lunch at Neighbor, which serves up tasty burgers and delicious beer, amongst other options.
And, of course, no trip to Los Angeles is complete without some good sushi. Agents met their sushi quota at Sakana Sushi Lounge, which served up hand-selected fish and creative Japanese cuisine in an elegant setting in Downtown Los Angeles.
Showcased Hotels
Agents stayed at the luxurious NoMad Los Angeles for the first two nights. Located on the lively corner of seventh and Olive Street in Downtown L.A., the hotel includes 241 rooms and suites. The highlight of the hotel, however, is the rooftop pool and gathering space overlooking downtown. The agents also go to tour the Sydell Group’s other two Los Angeles hotels, The Freehand and The LINE.
“Being a millennial myself, it’s very exciting to see this new, ambitious and passionate generation of travel industry professionals coming into power so to speak, and it shows that travel agencies are far from going extinct,” said Robert Kellerman, director of sales and marketing NoMad Los Angeles Hotel. A view from the balcony at LEVEL Furnished Living in Los Angeles. (Photo by Joe Pike)
For the last two nights of the forum, agents stayed at LEVEL Furnished Living, which aims to blend the privacy that the sharing economy provides travelers with the amenities and service of a top-notch, luxury hotel. It includes 303 fully-furnished suites and offers agents a 10 percent commission.
Guests have access to a 24-hour concierge service and L Club, an exclusive floor that includes BBQ and fire pits, a fitness center, basketball court, and an outdoor, 70-foot, heated pool with a hot tub, steam room and sauna pavilion.
The B2B Program
After a few days of soaking up the fun and sun in L.A., it was time to get to business.
The third day of the MTF featured an extensive B2B program that included a networking breakfast with the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board’s marketing team, one-on-one appointments with L.A. suppliers and a final networking reception with both suppliers and tourism representatives.
“Being a new museum opening in late 2019 in Los Angeles, it was very nice for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board to arrange for experiences to meet the agents in person to ask them directly about the trends and what the millennial traveler is really looking for in a destination,” said Rowena Adalid, director of sales with Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “The Millennial Travel Forum helped to provide us with valuable insights to develop and expand our product offerings in order to be a consideration to this very important, growing customer segment.”
Other highlights of the B2B program included a focus group session with Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board representatives and a roundtable discussion with the agents on how to best sell the destination.
“The focus group and roundtable was an amazing highlight of the day,” said George Andritsakis, an advisor with Snelgrove Travel Center in Layton, Utah. “I heard so many incredible thoughts and insights from a baker’s dozen of some of the U.S.’s finest travel agents. I love get-togethers like that as they usually tend to bring out ideas on top of other ideas, feeding off the original question.”
Art and Culture
The final day of the Millennial Travel Forum provided the trip’s best visuals from a street art tour that combined great storytelling with the city’s best graffiti, and ended at Venice Beach, to some virtual reality at Westfield Century City.
“There is so much culture in the Los Angeles area, so what better way to get accustomed than by some local art,” said Doncsecz. “And I’m not talking a museum, but the graffiti and street art of Venice Beach. Our guide had an awesome way of explaining the different forms, styles, artists, while also comparing the commissionable street art to the illegal, overnight graffiti. There was a lot to see and it was a fun way to see the streets and area.”

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Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains

Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains By Charukesi Ramadurai • 9 hours ago Some of the 20 different types of rice used during the three-month festival Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. Chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. Salam Olattayil / for NPR
Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar fondly remembers her father’s love for rice — and his insistence on having specific kinds of rice — with each special meat or fish dish cooked in their kitchen.
She even has memories of him making long road trips from their home in Kolkata, India, to other parts of the state of West Bengal to buy local rice. What motivated him, she says, was not just his interest in food but also nostalgia for his childhood.
Edible Archives was born partly from this recollection, with chef Anurima Ghosh Dastidar as curator, along with chef Prima Kurien and two food writers who were also invited to cook.
India is known to have cultivated thousands of varieties of rice, and references to rice — also combined with vegetables and meat, an ancient precursor to biryani, which came from Persia — have been found in Sangam literature from the 5th century B.C. Even a century ago, communities across India grew their own strains of rice, and consumed them according to the needs of the season or the cuisine.
During the Green Revolution in the 1960s, when machinery replaced manual work and “high-yield variety” seeds were promoted, agricultural output increased dramatically, but a few hybrid rice strains took over from hundreds of indigenous ones.
The Edible Archives Project aims to showcase the sheer range of rice varieties grown in India, and throw the spotlight specifically on those which have almost vanished from the country’s foodscape or are grown only in small communities. Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar scoops Kattuyanam (a red rice from Tamil Nadu), into bowls at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. She is instrumental in both rice research and cooking for the Edible Archives project. Courtesy of Edible Archives
“We don’t document anything in India, so most of the old rice strains are gone, and the expert knowledge about them too,” says Jayanthi Somasundaram, whose Spirit of the Earth collective sources and sells several varieties of organic heritage rice, including a few for this project.
Edible Archives formally opened at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale , an art festival that ran from Dec. 12 through March 29 in the south Indian city of Kochi, currently in its fourth edition. At the event, the chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. All of this was in what Dastidar calls “homestyle cooking” (as opposed to what is passed off in restaurants, especially outside India, as classic Indian cuisine, like butter chicken), using local vegetables such as drumstick ( moringa in vegetable form) and gourds. Writer-chef Priya Bala adds that the idea was also to present not just rice in all its glory, but preserve the dwindling knowledge about cooking methods, as well as revive lost recipes.
To spice things up, the chefs also played with fusion presentations, such as a Korean marinated egg over the aromatic Tulaipanji rice from West Bengal (a hit combination, as it turned out) and the Chicken Pepian, a Guatemalan Maya dish paired with the white, sweetish Chini Atap rice, also from the same Indian state, to complement the robust smokiness of the meat. “Most importantly, the chefs also explained how pairing works, so as to balance all flavors and fragrances,” Somasundaram says.
In three months, the team cooked with nearly 40 rice varieties from all over India, many of them not familiar to anyone outside the region of cultivation — like the Bahurupi from the state of Odisha or the Kattuyanam from Tamil Nadu. The rice of the day was described on a board at the venue, and on the social media pages of Edible Archives.
Drawing from her own nostalgia, Dastidar says that most Indians have “an archive of rice memories, which we wanted to bring together.” In the midst of all the cooking and eating, there was also a two-day workshop called “Recipes of Rice and Remembrance” that included talks, cooking demonstrations, reminiscences and even songs related to rice.
Speaking of the latter, Bala points out that rice has found a place in Indian culture and literature over the ages, from a Bengali lullaby asking the angel aunties to come and put the baby to sleep, promising them delicious food in return — including three types of rice — to devotional songs from the state of Tamil Nadu that equate rice with prosperity.
Indeed, rice has been an important, exceptional part of Indian rituals — from the ceremony during which a baby is first fed mashed rice as solid food , to the turmeric-infused yellow rice showered as blessing at weddings, to the final journey, where rice is an offering to the departed soul. Even the sick are fed kanji or khichuri (loose rice porridge, with or without lentils) as comfort food.
Dastidar has trained in Italian, Japanese and Thai cuisines, and learned how chefs in those countries tend to focus on grains from their own microregions. Much before the Edible Archives idea took shape, Dastidar was experimenting with rice varieties; think Manipuri Black Rice Risotto (a grain with starch content similar to Arborio) at New Delhi’s popular restaurant Diva, where she was sous chef for many years.
With this experience, she traveled across the country to source the rice for Edible Archives — all of it was bought directly from small farmers or through agriculture collectives and non-governmental organizations who worked with cultivators. The exploratory phase included inputs from experts such as Dr. Debal Deb, who has researched and grown 1,300 varieties of rice at his farm Basudha in Odisha, and organic farmer Syed Ghani Khan, who established a rice museum in Karnataka that is home to more than 850 varieties. One of the rice bowls served at the festival, this dish contains Kattuyanam, along with roasted pumpkin, cauliflower, ridge gourd, mango, dal, and cucumber salad and mustard microgreens. Courtesy of Edible Archives
Along with creating a record of cultural connotations and memories, Edible Archives also shared nutritional information about the rice of the day, trying to dispel the myth that rice is just a “bad carb.” Case in point are two varieties from Tamil Nadu, where rice is the staple: Kattuyanam and Seeraga Samba, the former with a low glycemic index that makes it ideal for diabetics, and the latter highly fibrous and rich in selenium to fight colon and intestinal cancers. The chefs gleaned this information from scientific articles and agricultural journals, as well as from Basudha’s in-house magazine.
In the future, Edible Archives plans to hold pop-up events across the country and eventually abroad. There have already been a few in Indian cities, and one in Paris coming up in June that will focus on cuisine from India’s seven northeast states, which are still largely under-explored in terms of tourism, culture and cuisine. The chefs say they mean to keep the dialogue going with talks and lectures “wherever food and culture meet.”
As Bala puts it, “we need to continue the celebration of a grain that is sustenance, comfort, nutrition and auspiciousness all at once.”
Charukesi Ramadurai is a freelance journalist from India, writing about travel, food, art and culture for BBC Travel, The Guardian, Forbes and National Geographic Traveller (India), among others. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @charukesi Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 WNCW

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