A Fragrant Legacy

Ever felt the cool mists of the Hill stations in Kerala kiss your cheek? Or trekked through the luxuriantly green forests of God’s Own Country?

When you do, stop in your tracks and breathe deeply to discover the fragrant blessings hidden deep in the bosom of Nature…

Every year the Monsoons conspire with the unique geography of the land to churn out a sensuous gift.

Spices- a small thing that made a BIG difference…


Their fragrance, enticing as it may be is subtle. Centuries ago it was this very fragrance- the scents of spices- that made ships from foreign lands set sailing in search of God’s Own Country.

Spices shaped Kerala’s destiny. It was the enticing scents and flavours of the spices that awakened the curiosity of explorers across the globe. Many braved mighty oceans and seas to seek this land out for its veritable treasure. Kerala’s spice trade with the world dates back to the 3rd millennium BCE when the legendary Spice Route was first formed.

Ancient Kerala was the hub of world trade. The Malabar Coast of Kerala was witness to the arrival of Arabs, Chinese, and European powers like the Portuguese, the French and the British. The spices of Kerala had become the most treasured and traded commodity. The port Muziris became the busiest of ports with sailors, traders and explorers making a beeline for it. For years this fabled land mesmerised Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Arabs, Chinese, Romans and Greeks.

Kerala with its warm, humid climate and hazy hill stations with loamy soil rich in organic matter and adequate rainfall makes it ideal for spices to thrive here. The high ranges of the state where most of the spices are grown have a unique climate and geographical features that give the spices a distinctive quality.

Cinnamon and Cardamom were the first to draw the attention of foreigners. It was much later that Pepper became the chief attraction of the Malabar Coast and received the title ‘Black Gold’.

Soon, one at a time Cloves, Ginger and Nutmeg also found their way into the list.

In Kerala the spice plantations are concentrated around Wayanad, Idukki, Munnar, Kumily Thekkady and Wagamon.

Kerala’s tryst with spices has survived the test of time. Remove spice from Kerala cuisine and you will understand how bland and flavourless Kerala would be sans its spices.

Irrespective of cultural, religious and other differences, spices occupy a special place in providing a unique flavour to the culinary specialties of Kerala.

Even today the scenario is no different. Spice extracts are a booming industry. Spice extracts are produced by extraction and distillation and represent the true essence of the spices. They represent the true essence of the spices and can replace spice powder with equal or better flavour characteristics.

Spices have and always will be an integral part of the cultural fabric of the state. The flavours and scents are timeless and have been passed on from generation to generation.

Even today the whole world stands enamoured by the fragrances of this quaint strip of land.


[Script written for a film on the Spices of Kerala

The video of the same title is available on You Tube]



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