Saturday, February 17, 2018

Top tips to attending the Carnival in Goa

While most Catholics in India and Abroad celebrate Lent, and even the culmination of Lent to The solemn Good Friday and then a happy Easter, but very few places in India celebrate Carnival like Goa does. And while I have written about Goa carnival HERE and HERE, I still got so many messages on my Instagram this year about Carnival, that I decided to answer all of them in a new blog post .

Carnival is traditionally celebrated the weekend prior to the start of Lent on , Ash Wednesday.

Why come to Goa for Carnival?
There are plenty of reasons, but one of the main reasons is that it is always on a weekend and is one of the few times where the true 'Goan ' way of life is seen on an amplified scale. Think colourful flowery Tshirts, lots of drinking parties, live music on the streets, barbequing meats on the streets, and yes people wearing Masquerade masks.

colourful dancers ay the carnival

Shreyu at his first Carnival

The colourful float about dangers of plastic

Goa being devoured by the evil of plastic

Dont get High on Drugs, says a tableaux

underwater sea world float

a sea of people

When is it?
Google for Ash Wednesday for the calendar year you wish to come, this year Ash wednesday was on 14 Feb, and so Carnival celebrations were from 10 Feb to 13 Feb, that is from the saturday prior, to the tuesday prior to start of Lent.

Can anyone attend , or is it only for Christians?
while it is originally meant as a time of over consumption and enjoyment for the catholics prior to the almost month long period of fasting and restrictions of Lent, everyone can participate in the festivities. Infact a long time back the Church dissociated itself from Carnival celebrations, calling it not a Christian celebration, but later the state of Goa adopted the festivities and the parades , as they realised the draw of tourists. 

What is a carnival Parade?
The parades are floats depicting various social causes, and various bits of Goan life as a tableaux . The Parade begins with King Momo declaring the festivities open, and on the Saturday of the Carnival it is in Panjim, on Sunday it is in Margao, and then travels to other towns of Goa, like Mapusa, Vasco.. all the details on the route of the parade and so forth is published in the newspapers prior to the day of celebrations.
This year Carnival was before Valentines day and it and romance to the festivities

Bakeries with Poie , local bread made it to the flaot parade

Thought provoking floats about , what do you want to be when you grow up...

Men in Drag is very common sight at the Carnival Parade, some dressed as local fisher women, to even pregnant women, and sometimes even a mermaid.

did you notice my green head gear.

Garland pork sausages , indigenious to Goa made it to the float parade as well.

What apart from the parade can we see?
There are many carnival themed parties in Restaurants and Hotels, but the Parade is free of cost, also the Samba Square a live music and food street festival is sponsored by the city corporation of Panjim, and is at The Garcia De Orta garden close to the Panjim church. Also the Goa State Tourism department hosts the food and cultural festival during the same time, allowing for more options during the Carnival. also there is a sand sculpture at the Miramar beach most years.

a table laden with Carnival food treats, chicken Cafreal, Pork spare ribs, and much more

strawberry Mojitos, what a splendid idea, @clucktales

Throwback to childhood memories with goli soda, but priced at Rs 40, almost quadruple our childhood price.

fish wrapped in Banana leaves.

Gobanos or Goan Poie bread sandwiches with caramelised onions, meat of your choice, gravy, a fried egg and aioli, a scrumptious discovery at Athenaz stall
 What should one wear at the carnival?
Colourful happy clothes are perfect, also eye masks and head gear, which are easily available on the streets during the parade. On the last evening of the Carnival that is tuesday evening, Samba Square has a black and red dance, and it is a tree=at to watch everyone dressed in the red and black colours, and do wear those colours if you want to enter the dance venue . Yes, on all days of the Carnival you can dance the night away at Samba square in Panjim, and I think at other venues in the state as well. so wear comfortable shoes. If you are just a gang of colours, do not dress to attract too much attention, because many of the revellers, both from the state and outside are drunk and looking to make trouble. stay safe, and move in mixed groups, and surround yourself with family revellers.
This is my most favourite picture of this Carnival, me with Bagpipers of Goa, men dressed in Kilts, keep your eyes peeled for fun and quirky images during your visit to Goa during Carnival and you will see plenty. 

I hope you enjoyed this roller coaster ride on the Carnival streets of Goa, and if you wish to read more Posts about Goa here are a few 

Demistifying the Goan Fish Thali HERE
understanding the legend of Narkasur and the Goan Diwali celebrations HERE
Serendipity Art Festival ,, Goa HERE
International film Festival , Goa  HERE

This article is written as a part of SuperBloggerChalenge2018 conducted by , , and should not be repurposed , republished, or used otherwise. the content is herein owned by the blogger.  Superbloggerchallenge2018 is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Family sunday brunches at Caravela , Taj Holiday Village Resort & Spa , Goa

Once upon a time , the Portuguese came on their sailed ships called Caravelas , and discovered the land we now call Goa. Enter then the sea facing dining called " Caravela' at Taj Holiday Village Resort & Spa, situated in Sinquerim , and the first thing I see are the many speed boats and yachts on the sea, they even have parasiling boats with colourful parasails floating behind them . 

The Sunday brunch boasts of a menu which takes inspiration from a number of world cuisines , but what really blows ones mind is the world class view from the deck , as well as the silhouette of the Fort Aguada in the not so distant. The Taj Holiday Village,Goa property in itself is a very verdant and picturesque surrounding, and add to that the fact that it is situated so close to a fort as well as a beach , makes it the perfect one stop tourist destination for many. For us it was more of a Sunday morning spend, but that too, we had the option of walking to a fort, or frolicking on the beach, or enjoy a dip in the resort pool.

Here is a look at the brunch at Caravela Taj Holiday Village Resort & Spa , in pictures , also some nifty tips on turning a buffet brunch into a coursed meal. all it takes is some ingenuity, tips at the end of the blog.

cheese platter by the sea? yes, please, Taj Holiday Village

make your own DIY cheese platter is one of the first things I do at a buffet brunch, with so many cheeses and cold cuts to choose from, it makes for a colourful and healthy platter of nibbles for the entire table. try it next time you go brunching. 

Another is creating a mezze platter and since the buffet had hummus and flat breads, its another platter of food you can easily recreate at almost any brunch. Brunches I believe should be for communal and family eating.

This is the platter I made for my mom who was visiting us, as the resident food blogger , I decided to curate a plate of Goan delicacies for her, and here we have the local Goan ried rice, pork Vindaloo with pickled onions and cherry tomatoes, few choice breads, a salad, and Bebinca for dessert.

The family that dines together, stays together.

The chefs special coriander prawns is a Goan inspired dish, bu with no use of coconut or the quintessential Goan masalas, this one had hung curd, besan, and coriander leaves as it's base, and as mom said, tasted like punjabi Kadhi, or a burmese khou suy , haha , goes to show that food is an extremely individual taste.

desserts done right, at Taj Holiday Village resort and spa

more desserts at Taj Holiday Village resort and Spa

single serving salads, they were so pretty I had three of each, dont mind me, but I love my salads.

Give us today our daily bread

The Italian spread had my favourite Zuchchini parmegianno, a dish which reminds me of great Italian home cooks and TV shows I love.

a nifty trick to brunching with toddlers, start them of with something crunchy like a papad, and some finger food, it gives you time to scope out what else they might be interested in, even t=if the temeptation is huge, dont start with sugars.

SHreyu with his favourite , watermelon juice.

tropical lunches with tender coconut water, 

Thats the weekend Brunch Menu

My favourite dessert from the dessert platter, the lemon cream tart. 
Thankyou to the entire child friendly staff, including executive chef for not minding the ever inquisitive toddler.

Thankyou for joining me on our brunch adventures 

colourful desserts , i love mine brown though , chocolate desserts are my weakness.

Hope you joined my valentines day giveaway on my Instagram and Facebook page, a dinner date at Taj Hokiday village . Interested ? head to my Facebook

so as promised here are a few ways of enhancing your buffet brunch experience at ANY brunch you go.

1. think of it as communal meal, try and bring platters which the entire family can tuck into, rather than single plates of food, pile one high with biryani, a few kebabs and lo presto you have a shareable meal at your table.

2. create your own cheese platter with the cheeses, cold cuts, salads , and fruits, and again make it a big platter, every one can nibble from at your table. 

3. pair different cuisines together, and make small plated meals fromeveryone at your table, borrow a jug and pour the juices on offer into it so that you are not going to the buffet counter again and again. 

4. dessert platters for sharing are a great way to try everything at the buffet offering as well as have everyone share from single servings, thus not wasting food. 

I hope you guys liked these tips. I have plenty more brunch tios 

here is one on Brunching with babies HERE

Here is one on why I love weekend staycations ( as much as I like brunches) HERE

and my Favourite , on how to eat like a pro at Buffet brunches HERE

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The foodie trails to sunday brunch at Palms , Park Hyatt Goa

I love sunday brunches, for one it means that you don't need to make Lunch on that day, and sometimes one eats so much, that dinner too need not be too elaborate, and that's what I call hitting two meals with one lunch. To read more on how to eat a buffet brunch like a champ , read HERE

But above all , sunday lunches are perhaps the only unrushed meal of the week , for us working moms with young kids who have hurried breakfasts to leave kids to school, lunches on the go, and dinners are a constant struggle trying to get the kids to bed.

The palms at Park Hyatt is one of our very favourite places to lunch, also because it is one of the truly outdoors , beach side dining experiences in Goa, There is literally no hiding from the elements of nature here, with even the entire lunch spread displayed in the open, and the beach a few steps away. it's also because of this reason tat it is open only during the November to March months, and since last year it rained almost all of November, and many sundays of December as well, that we finally managed to lunch at Palms in February. 

Here is a foodilicious look at our lunch spread

Loved the burst of colour at the fruit table, winter truly is the best time for fruitarians in Goa

flambed fruits and a whisky fruit tart begin the boozy brunch

what absolute joy in this picture, might just make it to our next years family calendar

a balanced plate of colourful veggies, fruits and legumes and whole grains. I really did think I woyld be able to stick to my healthy eating at the brunch

make your own cocktails, and I made a cranberry , aplle juice, mint infused white wine based cocktail. I call it the winter brunch 

salad bars too pointed towards a healthy lunch

infused grills were the order of the day.Palms specialises in grilled meats and a real outdoorsy barbeque style sunday meal

the rosemary lamb roast 
drinks on ice , a mocktails and cocktail were part of the all inclusive menu and at 1699 most of the patrons were over the moon to have two drinks included in the brunch. for unlimited spirits the price was Rs 400 more.

But my favourite was thois tropical explosion of fruits, flavours and colour! 

baby foodie kept busy having cloud upon cloud of cotton candy, and pillow upon pillow of marshmallows

ended the meal with a triple whammy of rum chocolate pudding with kirsch cherries, whiskey cheese cake and a Tiramisu .

The foodietrails at Palms Park Hyatt
we hope you enjoyed this foodietrail.
read more about

How to Brunch with a baby HERE
the cashew trail 2017 at Park hyatt HERE