Monday, October 29, 2018

10 best Food Souvenirs from Goa

Goa on my plate presents the 10 best food souvenirs to take back home from Goa.

Even before I made Goa my home, I was a student studying at the medical college here. That meant taking back food gifts from Goa everytime I went home. and even now , when friends and family visit Goa we love gifting foodie souvenirs to them, food souvenirs instantly transport you back to the place.

With Diwali round the corner, and a lot of travellers visiting Goa, what better way to celebrate than to Gift Food items from Goa? I have curated a list of sweet and savory treats from goa, which bring a slice of Goa to your plates back home.

Notice the Goa Mario Miranda Lampshade, the Mario Miranda Market scene painting on the wall? now bringing Goan flavour, not just to my home, but also Goa themed tee shirt and Goa on my plate cotton shopping bag! 

So what makes a great food souvenir? One that instantly reminds you of the place, so it should be unique to that place, second, it should be something you really enjoyed having on your trip to Goa, so don’t buy things just because they are unique if you don’t like the taste of them, and third, something that travels well and stays fresh for long journeys.

Keeping these in mind, I have made a list of food souvenirs, both common and uncommon, from Goa.
Goa food souvenirs to take back home .

1.       Cashews:
Storage (6 months or more, can refrigerate)
 literally everyone who comes to Goa must return with cashews. Cashews both salted and plain can be used in multiple dishes, the roasted variety stay fresh for many days. Its loved by kids to adults, it can be a nifty snack when you have delayed flights on your trip back from Goa, and pair really well with alcoholic drinks. Cashew shops and ‘cashew depots’ are multiple at all the busstops and touristy spots in Goa, so no dearth of the shops, also many of the other food souvenirs can be picked up there as well.

2.       Bebinca:
Storage (expiry mentioned on the box, can be refrigerated once opened)
This Layered baked dessert made of eggs, flour, jaggery and lots of ghee, is a favourite for tourists and locals alike. Each layer is cooked individually, and a minimum of 7 layers are present in a bebinca. Don’t eat it layer wise though! Slice a piece which has a little of each layer, to feel the different textures of bebinca. An interesting origin story of Bebinca is that it was invented by nuns in Portugal, where they used the egg whites to starch their uniforms and the egg yolks would go to waste. That’s when they came up with bebinca and pasteis de nata, desserts that use up the egg yolks ! serve bebinca with vanilla icecream, and sprinkle with the cashews you bought , and serve to guests back home. and everyone will be transported to Goa!

3.       Port wine:
Storage (can store over a year)
Port wine is not like regular wine. First off it doesn’t have a high alcohol content, infact many don’t even consider them to have any alcohol, its just fermented juice. Its pretty sweet so can be had by anyone , and is pretty cheap at Rs 100 a bottle mostly! What I love to use it in is for cooking though, add it in chicken curry and let it reduce and you have a fuller, richer fruity flavour. Add to any tomato based curry dish I would say, be it keema, or ragout, or mutton, or pasta sauce.

4.       Cafreal Masala:
Storage ( expiry mentioned, store in fridge once opened)
This one is one of the many typical Goan masalas one gets in the state. Cafreal was brought by the Portuguese, from their African colonies. It is green, herby, and is fragrant with spices. It pairs well with potatoes, paneer, chicken and fish and is one of the most versatile pastes. Just smear and bake or fry. It also works well with spinach soups, or spinach curries, and I make it all the time at home, to add oomph to my green Indian curries of coriander and mint.

5.       Feni:
Storage (stores upto a year)
This local liquor made of cashews is interesting, but again not for everyone, because it smells quite strong, and has a fairly high alcohol content. But, take a small souvenir size bottle back. It works well with lemon and fizzy drinks like limca. Also a nice marinade for meats.

6.       Chocolate cake from cafĂ© central:
Storage ( stays good for a day or two of travel , finish soon)
Reason to add this on the list. First, its pretty famous and well loved amongst locals in goa. Second, its eggless ( for vegetarians), its nut free ( for nut allergies) and is moist and travels well. there have been times we have devoured the entire cake even before our flight took off from goa. Even now, we gift it to our friends and they love it!

7.       Chcocolate fudge cookies from cremaux :
Storage ( expiry mentioned, but stays good upto 10 days or more, can refrigerate, and microwave before consuming , but stays good in airtight container aswell)
There was a time when I thought these fudge chocolate deserved to be Goa’s number one food souvenir above cashews!! Infact this one is a must have , must take, must eat. For every chocoholic out there, you want to take back these for them.

8.chorizo sausage : Goan Pork sausages, that are chunky, packed with loads of spices, and are almost like a pickled version of regular sausages, because they don’t need refrigeration when packaged. They stay good for months, they taste great in a curry, in sausage pulao, I cook it with Jaggery and top it on donuts even! Very versatile, easy to carry back home, quintessentially Goan, makes this on the list of best goan foodie gifts.

9. Rainbow cookies from mog: This one was is for the instagrammers, also for the kids. These rainbow coloured cookies put one instantly in the happy holiday mood. Thay make for pretty pictures, they cost just 100 rs per pretty packaging, last for a month since baking, are a neutral vanilla butter flavour, and are available year round at the bake store in Margao. Have a neice obsessed with unicorns, or a gay couple friend holidaying in Goa? (Goa is the number one Indian destination for Gay couples BTW) get them these.

10. Fish: I know this one is a surprise, but even I was surprised at the number of people packing fish from Goa off to their homes. Reaason? Many Goans live in cities like Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, working outside the state. For them , nothing says home like fish. And contrary to belief, fish travels fairly well when frozen, and fresh fish doesn’t smell, also I know of a really good place that does individually frozen fish , so its not stuck to each other, and with the travel time so much reduced by air travel, cooked fish dishes, or fresh frozen fiah are extremely popular food souvenirs from Goa.

With this list, I have tried to bring the local Goan flavour, along with practicalities of gifting, like availability throughout the year, longish expiry, and clean hygienic packaging. Hope this helps. Here are a few more Goa centric Blog posts if you are travelling to Goa.

Diwali Narakasur celebration in Goa

spring Shigmotsav festival in Goa

cafes of Goa

Goa food walking tour

Goa foodie gifts . Hope you had fun reading this post. do share it with your friends and comment.


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