The new Rajasthan tour in November was truly, deeply, madly breath-taking thanks to my fabulous manager Diggi, regular guests who have joined me on previous tours and new ones ready to open their hearts and minds to ten riotous days in my life. We enjoyed wonderful cooking classes full of stunning dishes like spicy peanut chat; okra stuffed with garlic and deep fried sweet rice infused with saffron, rosewater, raisins, pistachios and almonds. All washed down with (drinkable) Indian wine. In Udaipur and Narlai we laughed, cried, shared stories, shopped, danced and learned how to paint and tie-dye. Village life and talking to the locals was the activity guests loved most. My favourite location for dinner was high up in Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur with fireworks and live Rajasthani music. Deeply emotional. Come with me next year... dates are 26 October – 4 November 2019.
Vietnam in April?
Vietnam is a joyful journey through an indomitable culture and the most refined food in Asia. I have been visiting since 2002 and have made many friends who take us into their arms and homes. The cooking just makes your taste buds sing with the joy of sweet, sour, bitter, salt and umami. The shopping is fantastic too – silk clothes, gorgeous lacquerware, jewellery and embroidery. You too can come fishing with us, learn how to make rice paper, paint fabric, eat street food and meditate. To experience authentic Vietnam you have to walk, ride bikes and jump into cyclos. Only then can you get amongst the rice paddies, understand how people live and and get up close and intimate with the greens at the market. We have 3 places left for 2019 ... 30 March – 9 April.
If there's one thing that's as outstanding as the food in India, it's the traditional textiles. Inspiration hit me and I have had scarves designed and printed under my own label. There is a choice of two colours - pomegranate and chartreuse, they are a silk/cotton mix and hand-blocked with non-toxic dyes in Rajasthan. No two scarves can ever be the same as they are hand made with blocks cut specially for me by a lovely man in Bagru (just outside of Jaipur). Buy directly from us or via the website. And at just $75 they make the perfect Christmas gift!
Another year is over and and I am looking forward to the sweetness and light of family Christmas and New Year's celebrations in NZ and Sydney. I will be working on my new book of unusual love stories involving myths, bird love, puppet love and love in cold climates. First stop of the New Year is the South India tour. Happy holidays everyone and remember age only matters if you are a cheese.