The video above follows the process of acquiring, drying, and blending a mix of Indian spices to create the 51 spice mixes that head chef Ghanshyam Giri will be using for special chicken or fish dishes.
Back in January, I shared another spice video (which I didn’t have a hand in making, of course) to start publicizing the upcoming opening of Xandari Harbour, in Mattanchery, Kerala. Mattanchery is a neighborhood of Cochin next to the famous Fort Kochi, which is one of the principal sites where you can see murals from the first Kochi Muziris Biennale. Mattanchery, although not as much of a keystone spice-trading port as it once was in the days of Vasco da Gama, is still an important center of the trade, and it shows. Warehouses and storefronts brimming with fragrant goods–turmeric, cinnamon, onions, cloves, pepper, cardamom, ginger, and more–occupy most of the narrow streets of the neighborhood.
Every day walking through Mattanchery, you can see spice traders sorting, packing, loading, and unloading sacks of spices for export or domestic purchase. Xandari Harbour, nestled in among these businesses, actually used to be a warehouse itself. Fittingly enough, the building that was a repository for spices is now restaurant 51.
If you’re planning a trip to south India, or to Kerala in particular, make sure you head to Fort Kochi and the Mattanchery spice-trading district! Should you have a day or two free, consider staying at Xandari Harbour, or at least stop by 51 for a meal.