In today's episode of our ongoing Goan food tour series we have embarked on a journey to discover the popular Goan spirit called Feni.
Feni is a traditional liquor of Goa that is distilled from the fermented juice of cashew apple. It has been a part of the Goan Food Tradition for over 400 years.
To understand the spirit closely, we have arrived at a cellar cum distillery owned by Hansel Vaz, a cellar curator, that is situated in the midst of a beautiful cashew orchard at the foothills of Cuelim Monte in South Goa. To take it to a global level, he has created the world’s first Feni Cellar.
When we reached there Hansel gave us a brief history of Feni. He then walked us through different sections of his orchard to enlighten us about the stages of Feni making.
Hansel anecdotes were like a travel in time. With his unique initiative, he wishes to involve both the new-generation Goans and the tourist into a wonderful experience.
The cellar is clearly a visual treat, as it houses numerous multicoloured garrafões (large-bellied glass bottles) to store the Feni. Everything inside the cellar — from the garrafões to its lime-washed walls and the double-layered tiles on the roof - was a manifestation of the Goan aesthetics. The cellar is also much cooler than its surroundings.
As we walked in to taste the three types: cashew, coconut and a root called dukshiri we knew that it would be a memorable experience. Hansel in his fascinating anecdotal style encouraged us to understand the different variants of Feni through smell, palate and bouquet. He also offered some interesting Feni cocktails to portray it's versatility.
The heady evening ended with some food pairing session featuring Goan things. This spirit was truly a revelation and we clearly admire its 400 plus years old legacy.
About the host - Anubhav Sapra
Anubhav Sapra is an avid culinary explorer who loves to travel and explore different cuisine primarily the street food, not just for the sake of gustatory pleasure but also for quenching his deep thirst for nurturing new cultural connections through the kaleidoscopic canvas of food. He believes that the vibrant and delectable street food tradition across the globe has the power to bring communities together and foster harmonious human existence.
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