Why Wayanad is the ultimate shopping destination for gastronomes

Shopping in Wayanad

The hills of Wayanad are blessed with an incredible diversity of food – spices, tea, cocoa, coffee, vanilla and rare forest produce. Luckily, you don’t have to go wandering into the forest to find these – the highways crisscrossing through Wayanad, especially around Pookode Lake, have a plethora of shops selling local produce and handicrafts. Many of these are attached to spice and tea plantations.

By Syed Saad Ahmed
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Homemade Chocolate

Homemade Chocolate

Until my first trip to Wayanad, I had no idea that cocoa was grown in Kerala, let alone that delicious artisanal chocolate was made locally. Milk, dark or white – whichever variety you prefer, you can find it here.

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Forest produce

Forest Produce

The bamboo plant flowers once in about 50 years and dies soon after. But during this process, it releases thousands of seeds known as bamboo rice. The grains resemble brown rice, have a chewy texture and mild sweet taste. They can be used as a substitute for rice in meals and even to make sweets like payasam. Honey gathered from forests is also available aplenty.

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Tea and coffee

Tea & Coffee

Both tea and coffee are cultivated on the slopes of Wayanad. Caffeine aficionados can pick up tea flavoured with chocolate, cardamom, ginger and vanilla as well as coffee – both whole beans and freshly ground powder.

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Spices, Nuts & Seeds

Spices, Nuts & Seeds

Pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon and turmeric are some of the most famous exports of Kerala. It is the state’s flavourful spices that have attracted traders for over 2,000 years.

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Pickles & Chips

Pickles & Chips

Spicy Craft, the store I visited, has an amazing array of home-made snacks – mango and amla pickles, candies, jams and chips made from tapioca, jack fruit, batter-fried bitter gourd and even chilli!

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Wood & Bamboo Handicrafts

Wood & Bamboo Handicrafts

Bamboo grows abundantly in the forests of Wayanad. It is not only used for food, but also to make household objects like chairs, baskets, bowls and trays. You can also find kitschy bric-a-bracs like clocks with horns and antlers!

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