Years passed and I made a home with my husband and children. When my recipes started earning a considerable number of fans among friends and family an idea of catering to a larger audience arose slowly. Not on the scale of a restaurant, something more personal. Something special that would not just offer them food on a plate, but also showed them the care and creativity that went into every dish. And Pepper Trails was born.
There wasn’t a lot to think about when it came to naming our venture. I wanted to be able to share a unique experience with globe trotters and help them understand the legacy of Kerala cuisine. Pepper, known as Black Gold in India’s colonial past was what lured great explorers like De Almeida and Da Gama to India. The little black peppercorns, indigenous to the Kerala soil, enchanted the explorers so much that the business of spices slowly trailed from the Indian subcontinent to the Middle East, gradually to the Mediterranean and to Europe.
When busy travelers visit our kitchen they often plan a short stopover of half an hour. Once they immerse themselves in the live cooking demos, tasting sessions, careless banter and the wholesome fun of dining with our family, they almost always lose track of time!
As Pepper Trails beckons to explorers to come and join our beautiful exploration of traditional cuisine, I sit back and let my mind wander. I’m back in my mother’s kitchen. Raisins in disarray floating about and vying for space with roasted cashews that decorate a beef stew in coconut sauce. My mother’s attention to detail as she garnishes a mouth watering ‘meen pollichathu’. Almost as if she has a secret she smiles inwardly, stirs a curry, and flavours it with those legendary peppercorns. The aroma fills my kitchen again…