Manna in the Desert

Our guide in Amman had the rather unlikely name of Basel Ahmed. Had I but known it, his name was the perfect metaphor for Jordan itself: on the crossroads of Christianity and Islam. He had two seemingly irreconcilable passions: history and cuisine. While on site – Jordan has an unfair proportion of world famous Roman…

Andalusia for Spanish Olive Oil

The orange marmalade I had for breakfast still tingles on my palate. Sevilla marmalade is more intense and more astringent than anything else I have ever tasted; English marmalade is more bitter but not quite as fruity. I’ve started to spread the marmalade more and more thinly on my toast in a bid to make…

Extra Virgin Territory

The first trip I ever made to the olive growing world was to Andalusia in Southern Spain around five years ago. It was an eye opener. Along with 11 other media people from Canada, USA, Russia, Serbia, China and India, I visited olive groves, travelled through Andalusia’s trademark low hills covered with neat rows of…

Top Restaurants: Amaranta

Amaranth or Ram dana, is the most ancient of all Indian cereals. By calling their restaurant Amaranta, The Oberoi Gurgaon pays obeisance to the age-old grain and gives Amaranta a contemporary spin in one fell swoop. Taken in conjuction with the interiors, you would not guess that it is an Indian coastal restaurant that serves…

City of the Arts and Sciences: Valencia

My journey from freezing Madrid, where the weather forecast kept predicting snow, to warm, sunny Valencia took exactly two hours, but it was like going to another country altogether. The skies in Valencia resolutely remained fiercely blue, orange trees lined every street; one end of the city was bound by a beach, along which ran…

Guns in the Garden of the Sufis

The middle-aged gentleman in the seat next to me on the plane to Srinagar was waxing eloquent about a single line in a song in Mission Kashmir. “Do you know,” he boomed in a voice that easily outdid the roar of the aircraft we were in, “that rind poshmal gindini drai lo lo is taken…

Lesser Known Spots of Kashmir

Every destination acquires its own tourist treadmill and Kashmir is no different. Touristic clichés are a wonderful thing in most cases: when you are pressed for time, a quick drive through all of them, and you can safely tick the boxes. While it would be rather eccentric to miss out on quintessential Kashmir via Mughal…