The stories from my trip to India continue…
I visited a shop called The Spice Market in Jew Town which is part of Old Kochi which was settled by Jewish traders and sailors 2000 years ago. It is just down the street from the Paradesi Synagogue that was built in 1568. I entered this shop because I was drawn by the attractive display of spices in front of the store and I wanted to find out how the local people buy their spices. The shop is a women’s co-operative in which all of the products are made and sold by the local women. They make carved wooden spice boxes, saris, jewelry and home decorations, as well as sell packaged spices.
The women I met in the shop were so friendly to me. In the photo to the right, they are Kiran Devi, Sindhya, Daisy, Sheeba and Naufia. They welcomed my taking many photos of the shop as well as taking pictures of them standing by the loom that they use to create beautiful saris in the back room. Notice that all of them are wearing the elegant traditional Kerala style sari. By the time I left the shop I felt we were friends!
One thing that I found that was very interesting was that they sold small jars of different masala or spice blends. They had them for chicken, fish and meat as well as biryani and tandori masala. So popular in the States, I didn’t expect to see them in Kerala. I had assumed that since they had the spices and generations of experience in mixing them that they would not need to use premixed spices. I guess the modern Indian woman is busy too, just like we are in the U.S. I bought one jar of each and will test them out over the next few months and let you know how they taste.
I really enjoyed meeting the ladies at The Spice Market. I left their shop with several bags filled with goodies. This visit was the highlight of my trip to Kochi! I look forward to returning to see them again.
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