Culinary Retreats

Cooking Programs with Kerala Cooking Holidays conducted at The Pimenta are hands on, however we ensure that it is not tiring. We have arrangements for the prepping. In some of our programs for youngsters we have included prepping also.  The focus will be on spice mixes, flame control and healthy cooking as often as possible. This will in turn instil confidence in you to cook with ease,  passion and a love for food.

We help you understand and enjoy what Indian Cuisine is about and experience the difference between the food of the south and food of the north in India . You will also be able to gain some knowledge of Ayurvedic cooking too .
Considering the Pandemic situation and those who cannot travel and interested to Indian Veg or Cooking we are offering Cook along program online with Zoom .

You Experience
You will learn about Ingredients and spices, how they are used, and the various lentils/grains used in Indian cooking. We will introduce you to a variety of vegetables grown and available around and in the markets of this region. You will become familiar with various salts and sweeteners used in cooking in India . You can experience our eye-opening sessions on condiments used in Indian cuisine with regional variations.

As the cooking of flatbreads and cooking with rice comes to centre stage you will have the opportunity to learn how to make fermented and steamed foods along with pancake type dishes. All curries and masalas recipes will be de mystified and full understanding can be achieved. Your skill level of Indian cooking will change in few days You will use fresh and dried elements These range from coconuts and vegetables, through to beans and even cacao, coffee and tea too .

 Sources of Food
Guests will have the opportunity to visit places that sell all ingredients. They
comprise of small farmers markets, local general markets as well as small
shops owned by local self-help groups and entrepreneurs from the region. We
support people who sell quality products around us. We also purchase locally
produced consumables from various sources.
You will also be part of the local tours organised and offered. These will be
varied according to the duration of the programs. Further details can be given
upon request, or you can see this at the Cooking Holiday options .
Availability of the key ingredients for the dishes are easily available and fresh.
The most significant aspect of this learning holiday is you experience (see, feel,
taste and aroma ) the food that you will eat and how it is grown, bought and
cooked. This ranges from coconut, pineapples, vegetables, and spices including
cacao. You will be privileged to have this learning holiday in an ideal
environment and with experienced hosts.

4How it is done
Instruction in the kitchen will be given in English. Printed recipes for use in the
kitchen will be given and notes can be made. All guests will be provided with
soft copies of the recipes.
Your host /instructor will introduce the recipes to you and slowly guide you
through the process at a pace you can manage. We encourage our guests to
ask questions, clear a doubt or simply get clarification on any point
You will read the recipe yourself and organise the ingredients in the order it is
cooked. What makes a spice a spice is how you treat the spice in cooking,
sometimes you need to be gentle with it and some time you will be tough
with them. You will be combining spice with a lot of other ingredients to bring
out the aroma and resulting flavour.
We believe in the principle of learning swimming is by swimming and learning
to cook is by cooking. Your Host /Instructor will be in the kitchen and only
interfere in a major crisis. Managing the minor crisis helps to make your skills

The Kitchen
You will be in an Indian kitchen which has all necessary equipment needed for
typical Indian cooking in enough numbers. All this will be introduced to you at
the start of the program. This will also give you an opportunity for you to
familiarise yourself with the various equipment and how it is to be safely
used. We have standard measuring Cups , Weighing Balance and Spoons so
that you do not have to worry about adjusting the measurements .
You will learn the contemporary, healthy Indian Cuisine enabling you to take
home your new skills to your friends and family
In our kitchen we have stocks of various lentils, grains, sweeteners and salts in
its various forms, in addition to all the spices used in the Indian cooking. During
the process we will share with you information about these ingredients and
their uses. You are free to taste and smell these to gain a first hand feeling of
the natural quality of the ingredients.

 Why Us

These holidays are totally Bespoke to what you and the rest of your party are
interested in, your host takes great pride in making sure you have the best
possible experience you can. We are in an ideal position within Kerala to be
able to see all the key ingredients that are grown in the area and being sold
at the local markets. Your host family are passionate about getting, Fresh
good quality ingredient from local suppliers. For this reason, all of the food
cooked is vegetarian, however your host does have knowledge of Indian
meat dishes and for the guests who would love to have one or two non veg
dishes we have a separate kitchen and dining area for doing that .
Unlike other areas of South India this is an area where local population lives at
peace and tourism is very minimal. This gives you the opportunity to explore
the region and shop like a local.

Our location is more suitable for cooking holidays because of the geo
positioning of The Pimenta located in Haritha Farms a forest garden . You can
easily reach us from the airport and then other tourist destinations of Kerala by
Taxis, or public transport or combination of both.

You can be easily reach us from the airport of Cochin by Taxi in 1 to 1.5 hours
depending on traffic. Public transport the most local train junction is
Ernakulam if coming from North, and Kottayam if coming from South. Both
the places will take only around two hours to reach by public transport or
Taxi. We are only happy to guide you and arrange for the pickups also.

We have a good number of cookbooks arranged in sections like omnivore,
vegetarian, vegan and Ayurvedic and food writing along with our other books.
Books are colour coded and easily accessible and can be used in the reading
area which has comfortable seating
All our programs are residential (excluding our day programs) and we provide
accommodation in the Haritha Farm’s The Pimenta Spice Garden Bungalows.
All residential guests doing the cooking and other activity holidays are provided
with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Any guests reserved at Haritha Farm’s The
Pimenta are free to join any of the cooking programs if there is availability by
paying the difference.
Food Served at the Pimenta will be vegetarian. Vegan and gluten free diets can
also be catered for. As a part of the program we will be using a local restaurant
at for one meal or more depending on the program duration giving the guest a
choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian.

Coffee served at The Pimenta is grown in shaded forest gardens around the
bungalows where you stay. The beans are monsooned and roasted by a local
roaster then freshly ground in our kitchen each time we make our coffee. Tea
is sourced from the reputed tea sellers and always the fresh bloom is served.
Tea can have variations of black, green, rose and masala.

For whom
The programs at The Kerala Cooking Holidays are suitable for any cooking
abilities from beginner to expert who would like to gain culinary knowledge of
Indian Cuisine. We are not here to train you as a chef however we are here to
share the best attributes of home cooking that could be adopted into a
professional kitchen.

About the Cuisine
Kerala’s cuisine is just as colourful as its cultural life and religious traditions. It’s
a cuisine influenced by the long coastline and flavoured with the ubiquitous
coconut; one enriched with exotic tropical fruits, vegetables, cereals and herbs
and garnished with the unmistakable aroma of pepper, cardamom chillies and
cloves. A holistic and natural cuisine that follows the tenets of Ayurveda, it is
mildly flavoured, gently cooked and delicate on the stomach. In short, it’s a
cuisine that’s truly in harmony with the divine!
The attention to flavour and the abundant use of coconut is what defines
Keralan cooking from other Indian cuisine. Most curries in Kerala contain the
following ingredients: curry leaves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard
seeds, black pepper, hot chillies, fenugreek, turmeric, cardamom, and often
cinnamon and cloves. These ingredients are normally toasted, ground and
fried before the remaining ingredients are added to ensure the flavours are
brought to life.
Different communities within Kerala come produce distinctly different dishes.
While Hindus specialise in delicious vegetarian food such as sambar or rasam,
Muslims and Christians excel at non vegetarian cuisine. The pathiri, a sort of
pancake made with rice flour, and biriyani, a mouth-watering rice and meat dish, are Muslim culinary delights. Christians boast an array of fish dishes but their speciality is sweets.

Kerala Culinary Retreats – How to reserve them.

There are a range of re Retreats run at The Pimenta. The comprehensive, 6 Night Kerala Cooking Adventure and 7 Night Culinary Gems from the Malabar Coast aims to connect you with Kerala’s history and culinary culture through hands-on cooking and excursions to local markets and hill stations.

The intensive five -day four-night Kerala Cooking Residency is for those with a little less time on their hands who are eager to get to grips with the Keralan style of cooking. Finally, the two-night Curry Magic is a chance for short-term guests to get a feel for the spices and methods intrinsic to Indian curries and other Culinary Retreats which you can see listed here. If you are group you can also with our help a bespoke retreat combining cooking , Ayurveda and Yoga can be tailor made . Our Veg and Vegan Kitchen and dining area is kept separate from other cuisines All our programs have following common things Included in the price for each course:
 Accommodation
 All meals
 Cooking sessions
 Any scheduled trips, inc. travel expenses and entry fees
 Bottled drinking water

Excluded from the price for each course:
 Taxi fares to and from The Pimenta. Your host can arrange additional
transport on request.
 Any tips or taxes to be levied.

NB Accommodation is offered in our garden bungalows throughout the year.  In keeping with the eco-friendly values of The Pimenta, the bungalows and communal spaces are fitted with ceiling fans. For those who would prefer AC, alternative accommodation can be arranged during the summer months (March 31 st – May 31 st ) on the same price for our programs of 6, 7 and 10 Nights Retreats , Other months if they need AC accommodation you have to pay the transportation cost from the AC accommodation to the Cooking
workshop place .

Courses are suitable for those unfamiliar with Indian cooking and will involve demonstrations as well as hands-on participation. We are limited to a maximum number of eight participants and there is no minimum. Guests travelling alone ought to be aware of and comfortable with the possibility of being in a one-on-one situation. Booking for all the programs can be done by filling in our the Guest
Information Sheet sent to you . Once availability has been confirmed the booking process can proceed. A 25% non-returnable deposit is required upon booking. Payments details can be provided after filling in the guest info sheet.

Extra bits and Activities Possible
We offer Ayurveda, Yoga, Cooking Programs in the months of June, July August September and October . Details can be provided

  • Wholesale markets
  • Art working on trucks
  • Boat trips
  • Pinnapple market
  • Donkey sanctuary
  • Tea plantation
  • Rubber production and Rubber Bands
  • Weaving co operative
  • Terracotta clay pottery