Historically the word "drāviḍa" is used to denote the geographical region of South India. The third century BCE onwards saw the development of large Dravidian political states: Chola dynasty, Pandyan dynasty, Rashtrakuta dynasty, Vijayanagra dynasty, Chera dynasty, Chalukya dynasty and a number of smaller states.
South India refers to the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. The South Indian culture is essentially the celebration of the eternal universe through the celebration of the beauty of the body and motherhood.
An India with a captivating history, a region full of customs and traditions, culture and cuisine, art and architecture, each so colourful and distinct…..here is where the Spice Circuit journey begins…..
The Spice Circuit …..a personal invitation to be our guest; to connect with our homes and household and experience our custom, culture and cuisine.
Passionate about their roots, proud of their heritage and much captivated by their culinary legacy, Chef Kanthi Kiran Thamma and Wilson Rajan under the patronage of Martha Lucius have taken up the mantle to re-discover and present the Dravidian land and tradition to the world like none before.
The Spice Circuit is not just a passage but a platform to showcase the profundity of South of India to people from around the globe; people who love to travel; who want to go deeper than a tourist and eagerly discover South India's history and culture and learn for the first time about regional cuisines that are not so known in the west!
The Spice Circuit…..tours, premium spice exports, restaurant and events…….all of these tailored and spiced to meet your penchant and tastes.
Chef Kanthi Thamma was born and raised in Hyderabad, the culinary capital of southern India and is still inspired by its history, food and flavors of his childhood. It was in his mother’s kitchen where he was inspired to become a chef, a journey that has seen him travel the world in search of culinary inspiration and excellence.
At age 18 Kanthi started traveling, cooking in Switzerland, Disney World Resorts in the USA and Disney Criuse Lines before settling in the UK. Gaining experience with some of the UK’s most acclaimed chefs. During the last three years Kanthi was instrumental in setting-up and managing one of Brighton’s most successful brands; Curry Leaf Café, which currently has two restaurants and a Kiosk at the Brighton Railway Station. Pulling on the cuisines of his childhood in India, he gained the attention of critiques and diners. He quickly garnered many awards and accolades.
Kanthi readily admits that he gathers ideas and inspiration about ingredients and cooking from the local chefs he meets every day. Over the years, he has travelled to Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, the Channel Islands as part of Chef Collaborations programmes, representing the cuisine and culture of South India. He wants to give similar experiences to his guests.
Two years ago he started traveling with friends, showing them Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu's rich culture and cuisines. Hence, Spice Circuit. Now the gastronomic tours in South of India with the same personal touch is possible in this annual tour for American and European audience.
Spice Circuit is born of Kanthi’s passion for food and travel and this is something that he have always wanted to pursue. He takes a lot of pride in presenting his country's rich culinary heritage and superb hospitality.
Born in Kollam, Kerala, Wilson grew to love hospitality from a young age. With his determination and study, he graduated top of his class from Saptagiri College of Hotel Management, Mangalore, INDIA.
Now he has more than 24 years of extensive experience working across diverse sectors, including: Hospitality, Conference, Exhibition & Event Management and Media & Publications. His signature skill is setting up multi-cuisine restaurants and has to his credit more than a dozen such fine dining restaurants, setup across; Mumbai, Bangalore, Goa, Pune, Vishakapatnam and Hyderabad. In the last three years, he is managing a restaurant called Zaeem Foods in Sohar, Sultanate of Oman.
Wilson hails from Kerala, is an enthusiastic foodie with a love of travel. Always gracious, eager to explore and happy to socialize, Wilson brings his kind and nurturing personality to Spice Circuit. He's motivated to take up travel and event assignments. Spice Circuit is their dream realized. They've delivered two tailored tours of South India for groups of British travelers.
This year they are eager to host their first American group to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Part of a day will be spent in Wilson's lovely home, Palamoottil Pandakasala. Kanthi enjoys using their demo kitchen which Wilson built. We will embrace village life reserved only for such intimate tours.
Martha Lucius was bitten by wanderlust from birth. Her father's insatiable appetite for travel had her family living in Nigeria, Thailand, Tanzania, and India. Not to mention all the side trips to Malaysia, Indonesian and other countries. Dinner could be a formal coursed dinner or simple street fare. Her college career had her balancing her time between her degree in Economics, and running her college's India Club.
After graduation Martha had a ten year career as a calligrapher and graphic designer. But food and travel made her switch gears, and she opened two restaurants in Baltimore, Maryland. Her menu was taken directly from her travels. Customers delighted in Indian, Mediterranean, and Thai soups, sandwiches and desserts. Their signature items were Mulligatawny Soup and Hippie Cookies.
Now she's a business advisor to chefs and owners across the US. Her desire to run a trip to India melded with Kanthi and Wilson's plan to launch Spice Circuit to the US. Come, experience South Indian hospitality. It's a journey of a lifetime. You can't get better than a trip that is spiced and tailored like the Spice Circuit!
The Spice Circuit has a diversified business consisting of:
India being a huge and mystifying country, with many different religions, traditions and cultures, travelling to India can be a major culture shock, particularly on your first visit. The Spice Circuit will play the perfect host and ensure your passage to India is safe, scintillating, smartly planned and well executed.
Our tours are not simply tours. We take you on the road less travelled, the hidden places that make India magical. You will see the most desirable destination; eat dishes and cuisines you've never much known. India being an immensely fascinating country because of its size and diversity often demands more however we will not try to do too much during your trip, this is to ensure that you thoroughly enjoy every moment and take home the unique character and feel of each of the location. Hence all our itineraries have every detail of how much you will see and experience, this is to ensure you have realistic expectations and though you experience a tour full of flavors, the taste of India will linger and make you return for more.
Please do visit our Tours page to know more of our up-coming itineraries.
The Spice Circuit will soon be foraying into trade of highly premium spices to the UK. Special Teas and the best quality of Cashew nuts is also something that you can basket as we make our foot prints in Brighton to start with.
This endeavour of ours is in its conceptual stage and Brighton is soon to have our first food outlet where you could savour and experience select regional cuisines of India. Kerala will also soon have one of our first wayside restaurants soon. The restaurant will not only cater to the locales but also to tourists travelling between Kochi and Trivandrum.
From Pop-Up Kitchens to Chef Exchange programs, from special dinner nights to exclusive event caterings, from food pairing sessions to cooking lessons and everything about spices to culinary tours, you will have it all here.
The Spice Circuit already has three distinct B&B properties located off Karunagapally a city in Kollam district of Kerala. Each of these B&B’s are placed close to each other and put-together have Nine Kerala Rooms to offer for a captivating village tourism experience.
Each of these Home Stays are distinct in their architecture; while one is an old Kerala house with tiled roof and red oxide flooring, the other is a Laurie Becker style house with mud tiles on its ceiling and lot of inter-binding corbel designs and the other a traditional Nalukettu Kerala house with terracotta clay tile flooring, tiled roof, and an old fashioned sit-out.
The best part of these B&B's are that their families reside there, which ensures that you are safe, you get to interact and know more of Kerala and yes you relish home cooked (the mothers of the house cook it themselves) Kerala breakfast with your bed and lunch and dinner if you choose to.
While these Home Stays offer a great natural setting and village atmosphere along with authentic keralan food, they also have the advantage of being located close to some popular tourist destinations; Munroe Islands, Kollam, Poovar and Varkala…all within a hour and a half of travel time.
Welcome to our journey, where hospitality and culinary experience merge to make this trip a lifetime delight.
A restorative and gastronomic passage across prominent southern states of India: Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Journeys packed with tradition, culture, heritage, health and culinary enchantment.
Glorious beaches, jungles filled with wildlife, teeming backwaters and exotic costumed temple dramas – Kerala ticks just about every box. Its lush beauty is simply a complement to its rich traditions, legends and culture. And yes its delicious cuisine, characterized by the use of coconut, chilies, curry leaf, mustard seed, tamarind and asafetida is a delight so divine.
Tamil Nadu is the homeland of one of humanity’s living classical civilisations, as dynamic as it is immersed in tradition. Tamil Nadu's famously spectacular temples, each distinct from the other, there are more than 30,000 temples in Tamil Nadu, each temple not just a place of worship, but a place for social gatherings, education and celebration, a place where the artisans skill was show-cased.
Host to some of India's largest and most powerful dynasties, the state has across the centuries, carried a legacy of art and culture. Karnataka is a tapestry of colours, cultures, flavours and landscapes. Sedate plains suddenly rise to dizzying mist covered hilly heights, languid rivers that flow past cities; cities that sometimes escape into the deep forests and sometimes, stretches their arms wide open to embrace the sea.
Itineraries offering the most comprehensive and contrasting experience-led journey consisting of; beaches & backwaters; hills & plains; ayurveda & yoga; house boat & tree-house; heritage home & home stays; tea & spice trails; temples & churches; wild & tribal life; architecture colonial & class; people & food….. Experience them all.
Our tours are not just tours but journeys; Driven by Passion, Professional Excellence and a Desire to deliver an experience; concealed and not so known, apart from the most adored destinations, dishes and drives.
TAILORED: to maximize delivery of traveler’s particular interests.
GASTRONOMIC: The first of the tours to have an unparallel Gastronomic focus.
RARE: The rarest of opportunity to travel with one of Brighton’s most acclaimed Chef and understand the diversity of the cuisines of each of the travel destinations.
INSIGHTFUL: A professional Escort throughout the tour to explain in detail the history, culture and uniqueness of each of the travel locations.
WELL ASSISTED: A hospitality attendant to accompany and ensure your focus remains on enjoying the tour without being bothered of tickets, queues, needs, searches, etc.
SIMPLY SAFE: We know that traveling to India is intimidating to some people. We want you to feel safe and welcome. In fact it’s one of the reasons we decided to do this tour—Kanthi and Wilson know this area because they grew up in South India. They have carefully chosen the hotels and excursions because of the personal and professional relationships they have built in anticipation of the Spice Circuit. We are conscious of your needs to stay hydrated, and will make sure clean water is available to you. Meals are prepared in clean kitchens all along the journey. We are happy to have one-on-one conversations with your regarding your health needs and we look forward to you having a fantastic journey free of health issues.
TRULY SELECT: be it the group size, the stays, the coach you travel and every other component of the journey from your welcome to the departure, each of them will have an assured ‘moment of wow’.
We know that travelling to India is intimidating to some people. We want you to feel safe and welcome. In fact it’s one of the reasons we decided to do this tour—Kanthi and Wilson know this area because they grew up in South India. They have carefully chosen the hotels and excursions because of the personal and professional relationships they have built in anticipation of the Spice Circuit.
We are conscious of your needs to stay hydrated, and will make sure clean water is available to you. Meals are prepared in clean kitchens all along the journey. We are happy to have one-on-one conversations with your regarding your health needs and we look forward to you having a fantastic journey free of health issues.
Chef Kanthi Thamma has been at the forefront of Brighton’s curry revolution in recent years. After four years at Curry Leaf Café, he has decided to leave the restaurant and start his new project, The Spice Circuit (www.spicecircuit.com). I met with him to find out about this exciting development in his career Read more