As guest contributor for Ethical Hedonist – eco couturier Lucy Tammam sets off on a 6 week sourcing mission to find new, luxurious fabrics, meet potential producers and try to fit in a little R&R. Follow her Indian adventure on Ethical Hedonist to discover the life of London’s top sustainable fashion couturier and how she works away from the atelier.
The land of Looms and Lores
On my last trip to India I was introduced to a fabulous handloom cotton collective based in Kerala and on this trip I scheduled in some time to go and visit them. I didn’t need much convincing as there is a wonderful beach side retreat in the southern state of Kerala. I arrived early in the morning to be greeted by this view from the terrace of my room at the incredible, secluded Chera Rocks resort.
This fabulous breakfast including Keralan banana fritters, and slightly later a big plate of puri (puffed bread) and subji (light curry).
The food at Chera Rocks was incredible, and the beach in front was gorgeous and quiet. The room was pretty simple and the resort was very quiet, perfect if you want a romantic hide away and not to be disturbed (except when your meals are brought to your room, of course!)
As for me, I was there for work and not romance, so I spent a day exploring the wonderful hand looms with bright coloured warps. These were operated by incredibly skilled women who are part of the co-operative- working hard to make ends meet in a market dominated by industrial machines that can produce at a rate 100times faster than a single person.
But, oh! The look and feel of this fabric, it’s so beautiful and nothing a machine could do. The co-operative are cleverly working on fabrics with twisted yarns and unique weaves that can only be achieved by a real person crafting each metre with intricate care. They also supply fabrics to Buckingham Palace and have done so for years – what a claim to fame and quality!
After a long day working on new weave designs with the co-operative and meeting some other craftspeople I headed to my next accommodation, the perfect retreat for any traveller Kannur Beach House. Greeted by Rosi, the owner of this fabulous home stay and her husband Nazir, we were just in time to catch yet another incredible sunset from a perfect beach that was just a 3 minute walk away, and right in front of the guest house.
The food at Kannur Beach House was one of the highlights of my trip, when you go ask for the carrot and date pickle, it is a foodies delight and next time I am there I’ll be asking Rosi in advance to stock up for me! You also eat at a set time with all the other guests, so it makes for a fascinating hour or two hearing the stories and adventures of your companions, including the family who live there.
The main part of the house is an original century old Keralan home, the guest rooms, which were only built a few years ago, are in the same style and kitted out in the perfect way that you feel you’ve gone back in time, simple and with a lovely terrace to watch a sunset in front, the river to the side, or the sea ahead.
Yours in gastronomy heaven