When you combine travel and food, it is a euphoric high nothing else can replace. My experience of Club Mahindra and the brilliant hospitality of Kandaghat, Himachal. And a cooking class, too!
I absolutely love travel and I love food and when an opportunity knocks at my door which can combine both how can I say no. Sometime ago Club Mahindra , Kandaghat invited a bunch of bloggers (about 5 of us – Lakshmi Sharath, Deepak of magiceye, Vishal of the brilliant photography blog and Kishi Arora who runs Foodaholics in Delhi). I knew most of these people though I hadn’t met Deepak earlier and I realised it would be a great opportunity to connect with these bloggers to as an added advantage. And Kandaghat was a place I’ve always wanted to visit.
Club Mahindra works on a Vacation Ownership model i.e you pre-buy your vacations for some number of years and then pick and choose the locations that company has resorts at. I think this model works beautifully for families especially considering how Club Mahindra has special kids activities and kids zone at most of their resorts (36 in total till and some which look absolutely fabulous)
The day we reached the resort we were treated to an evening of Himachali entertainment which had music and dance performances put together by the staff and it seems they do this once a week. The staff was so good that they could almost pass off as professionals and along with that we sipped locally brewed drink called “Santra” and it blew my mind, so smooth almost like Cognac, pity I couldn’t bring it back to Bangalore and pity I don’t have a picture to show you but the next time you are in Shimla area ask the locals to get you some of that. Trust me you will not be disappointed.
And post the drinks and music (did I tell you all of us danced a bit too) we moved on to dinner. A typical Himachali thali with low seating is what awaited us. One look at the empty thali and I knew there is going to be a LOT of food but I still didn’t expect the amount that came, dish after dish but each dish so distinct from the other. Each dish had a character of its own.
The pahari channa is anyways my favorite, I have been cooking it from the Sood Family cookbook I own and everyone at home loves it but this one had a dimension to it may be because at home I don’t cook with mustard oil. All the dals and the veg dishes were spectacular but what really stole my heart that day was the Khatta chicken made with local spinach variety and malora, a super tangy leaf which was used as a souring agent, I brought back a sapling of malora with me all the way to bangalore and it was flourishing well till last week when Fluffy decided he likes the taste and ate off the whole thing (grrrr). Coming to mutton, it was so tender that it was literally falling off the bone. Yumm.
We also ate the yumminess on my plate aka the pahadi trout. Trout is a fish I love and I think it blends so well with Indian as well as international flavours (coming soon: review of the Himalayan Trout House, Tirthan Valley)
We also did a cooking class with the chefs at the resort next morning and cooked the following dishes, I am sharing the pictures and recipes for your reference.