Our annual trip to India is upon us and despite our many years spice hunting all over the world, returning to Kerala in the southwestern part of the country still really excites us. The people, the food, the spices, the incredibly melodious Malayam language and, of course, the many friends we have in the region, make our visits to God’s own country (as the state is also called) one of the highlights of our professional and personal lives.
Apart from standard concerns such as valid visas and preventative medications for potential traveler’s complaints, there are a few other items that are never removed from our “must not forget or suffer” list.
Traveling to a place such as Kerala always reminds us what’s really important in life. Enjoying a nice meal, seeing something new, appreciating a different culture; these are all things that we need to really enjoy our lives. Traveling to other countries is a deeply fulfilling pursuit, but entails a set of needs itself. For us, a bottle of scotch, a roll of duct tape, plenty of pens and pencils, along with a Swiss army knife, are essential accoutrements for a spice hunt in Kerala. What are your travel essentials- what will you not leave home without?
Ethné de Vienne was born in Trinidad, so spices and cooking have always been a part of her life. She worked in fashion for many years before finally building the renowned Montreal catering service with her husband Philippe. Today, as a full-time spice hunter, she takes great care in maintaining Épices de Cru’s relationships in its vast network of suppliers around the globe. She’ll never deny that any dish can be improved by a little cumin or zaatar, and probably a nice glass of rum!