Cashew Trail in Goa
Posted on July 9, 2019 by Ghoomophiro
In many ways, Goa is a fragment of West dislocated to the shores of India. The state has a culture as diverse as it’s cuisine – finding its inspiration from the Portuguese that once ruled it, Hinduism which was once prominent religion here, Christianity which has dug its roots deep inside its soil, the English speaking world which the youth here or the tourists have adopted themselves into.
There are many unique things in which this unique mixture of culture and values shows itself. One of them is increasingly popular Cashew Trail festival. If you have been to Goa, you probably would have drink feni, Goa’s national drink. Feni is made out of cashew.
Cashew Trail Festival is a 10-day festival organized by Park Hyatt Goa Resort & Spa. The festival celebrates cashew and drinks created from it – and their rich history.
Cashew tree was brought to Goa by Portuguese over 500 years ago. The impact of this fruit, well, technically it is not fruit but you know what I mean, Cashew’s impact on local culture has been so strong that it has inspired Thomas Abraham, general manager, Park Hyatt Goa to trademark the phrase ‘Cashew trail’ and initiate efforts to turn the harvesting time into a cultural event.
Launched in 2017 in collaboration with Vazs — Valentino, Mac, and Cedric of Madame Rosa Distillery, which Goa’s largest feni maker; Cashew festival refuses to be just another encyclopedic or museum activity. Instead, what we got to experience here was a diverse range of activity – cooking classes, cocktail lessons, cycle rides, barbeques.
You do however get to see the entire process from harvesting of cashews to the creation of Feni. The cashew orchids are a world apart from the rest of the Goa, suddenly you are in a place that doesn’t look like Goa or for that matter anywhere in India. The orchids present amazing sights of tranquil beauty to feed one’s eyes upon. And you can just pluck a fruit straight from the tree and start sucking on it! (Yummy!)
The cashew fruits are only used when ripened, they are thus picked from ground Instead of being plucked. A long stick with a pointed end is used for the purpose which is called Kanta
The feni-appreciation is probably the biggest highlight of this annual festival. With 42 percent liquor content, it tastes delicious and can easily make you tipsy if you drink too much of it which you probably will because like we said … Delicious. Just one sip of any of countless variations it comes in will help one realize that no other drink deserves to become a cultural symbol of Goa than Feni.
It is thus natural that the 10 day festival of Cashew Trail should make one forget all about everything else, the rest of world simply must lose itself to irrelevance as Goa gets high on its Feni lust.
There are two more drinks that we must mention. One of them is Urrak – formed at first distillation of Cashews. It has lower alcohol content (about 15 percent) and goes well with lime or lemonade substitute. If you were looking for a stronger drink, Goa’s special brew King’s bear beats them all.
Where to stay?
Park Hyatt Goa is a natural favorite for residence. The hotel is expensive but the experiences it offers are more than worth it, especially during this festival. The rooms are spacious, clean and full of all kind of amenities and there is also a spa facility available.
In so many ways, it has an experience you can’t put into words – a ‘you have to be there to know about it’ thing and we do hope that this article inspires you to be in Goa in time to experience this unique festival.
Cashew Trail festival is a uniquely Goan experience and something that, because of its amazing combination of experiences must be a part of everyone’s bucket list items. Are you already considering it to ornament your next trip to Goa or not? J