Travelling through South India

Pick up these edible gifts while travelling across South India

Rice packs from Spirit of the Earth  

Spirit of the Earth, Chennai

Walk into this store in Mylapore, speak to someone about the farming culture in Manjakudi, pick up recipes for specific varieties of rice and then pick from over 20 varieties of organic heirloom rice. Choose from double-layered wraps (in multicolour polka dots and stripes and green leaves inspired by Gond art) or Chettinadu kottans, and pack them for gifting.

Among the varieties on offer are the Bengal gobindabhog, black kavuni from Tamil Nadu and chakhao poireiton from Manipur. There’s sukhdas, a short-grained fragrant rice from Uttar Pradesh as also the kala namak or Buddha’s gift, says Jayanthi Somasundaram, of Spirit of the Earth. The unbranded, reusable wraps are made of screen-printed, unbleached cotton fabric. The weaving, printing and stitching are done by rural firms.

Where: At Srinidhi Apartments, No 4, Desika Road, Alwarpet, CIT Colony, Mylapore

Price: ₹130 upwards for 250 gm of rice and ₹230 onwards for the wraps

Details: 04424987955

Hibiscus syrup from Naturellement

Hibiscus syrup from Naturellement  


Even amid the calm balm that Auroville can be, Naturellement stands out for the way in which it gently nudges you to live the slow life. The Garden Café serves simple, wholesome meals with some herbs, vegetables and fruits grown in the backyard, and right next door is the unit that makes delicious preserves and squashes, besides pesto, tahini and mustard.

The USP of the preserves is that they are preservative and chemical free, says café manager Chitra. “We make 100% organic on order (batches of 50),” says Martina, the founder, adding that these batches are labelled so, and are slightly more expensive than the regular ones. Papaya, guava, grape, banana, strawberry and other seasonal fruits are used to make preserves using the open-pan technique. To ensure minimal food miles, everything is sourced from the nearest available market — the neighbouring Gratitude farm, FoodLink in Auroville, and organic markets in Chennai and Bengaluru.

Where: Select retail outlets across Puducherry, Auroville, Chennai and Bengaluru, and online at

Price: From ₹329

Details: (0413) 2622034 / 2623267




Post Sankranthi (mid-January), when there’s a nip in the air, the sugarcane-growing Malenadu region of Karnataka comes alive with the making of the region’s speciality — todadevu (pronounced thodadevu, thoda meaning to spread). Locally-grown rice is ground and mixed with sugarcane juice and a bit of jaggery to make a watery concoction. This is spread on an upturned earthen pot, placed on a wood-fired stove. Less than a minute later, the crisp brown crepe is folded to form a triangle of intense sweetness. Before being couriered, the todadevu is packed in cardboard boxes to ensure the delicate crispy crepe does not get damaged in transit. It can last a month, and be eaten plain or with ghee and milk. Joni bella (a liquid jaggery) is also hugely popular in this belt.


Price: At ₹15 per piece

Details: 08384233163,

Mangaluru Ghee Roast Masala by Shriya Shetty

Mangaluru Ghee Roast Masala by Shriya Shetty   | Photo Credit: VARUN SHETTY

Pupkins, Mangaluru

It takes Shriya Shetty, 25, two days to make a 10 kg batch of her special ghee roast masala, prepared after hours of cooking on the stove. While many know her for her patisserie, Pupkins Kitchen, this popular spice blend has takers across the country and has also reached New York, Dubai and New Zealand. “I started making it because ghee roast is primarily a restaurant dish, and the masala powders available in stores did not do any justice. It also takes a long time to prepare, so I thought there would be demand,” she says.

Her home is also her lab, and, over a year-and-a-half, she managed to come close to the version that she fell in love with first — the ghee roast of Shetty Lunch Home, Kundapura. “There’s a taste that lingers for hours. I was aiming for that, and to create a masala that did not lose its pungency even after travel.”

Where: Pupkins Kitchen

Price: ₹150 in Mangaluru and ₹250 elsewhere for 100 grams

Details:, 8105083888

The Huda Bar

The Huda Bar  

Huda Bar

A product that took eight years to perfect had its origins in necessity. Huda Masood, 37, who calls herself a bike traveller, decided granola bars would be her sustenance for breakfast. From 2008 to 2016, she tweaked her recipe before all the puzzles fit. Why should someone pick a Huda bar? “Well, it’s completely hand-made, the ingredients are mostly sourced directly, the end result is tasty and it’s packed well,” she smiles. She uses certified organic ingredients wherever possible. “The only two ingredients we have not gone organic with are butter and dates. Our jaggery comes from a farm in Sirsi, and our sunflower and chia seeds come directly from a farmer too. The rest we get through aggregators who pay fair wages.” She also sells herb teas and honey from all over the country, including Coorg (think eucalyptus) and Bellary (sunflower honey). Also check out rolled oats from Rajasthan.

Where: Go Native, Bengaluru.

Price: ₹400 for a pack of five classic bars, ₹75 for tea herbs, up to ₹650 for certified organic almond butter. ₹1200-₹1500 for honey

Details: 9886796967,

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2021 1:49:25 AM |

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