Head off on this food India trip, tasting everything from street food in Delhi to high end cuisine in Mumbai. Start in Delhi, where you’ll explore the market with a chef and learn about herbs on a ‘garden to table’ foraging experience. Admire the exotic architecture in Jaipur before a cooking class with a local family and a delicious thali dinner. Experience the Taj Mahal at sunrise before heading to Lucknow, for high tea with a descendant of the Nawab of Awadh. Finish your trip in Mumbai, where you’ll sip spiced chai in Iranian cafes, taste wine in the vineyards of Nashik and try the delicious local speciality pav bhaji. If you’re a foodie looking to experience the highlights of Rajasthan and Mumbai, then this is the trip for you.
This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements; please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.
Depart the UK from your chosen airport. You’ll travel on an overnight flight, arriving in India the next day.
On arrival in India, you will be met at the airport and be taken to your hotel in the city, checking in for three nights. Delhi is the capital of India, where the ancient and modern come together to mingle amongst the people.
After a light breakfast, this morning you’ll head out on a food tour of Delhi, with a chef to get an insider’s view of the city’s food culture, food joints and kitchens. Having a chef as your guide will give you a real insight into local cuisine – not only will you taste the food but you’ll learn about the ways of cooking, flavour profiles and ingredients.
Start the day with a rickshaw ride through the walled city of Old Delhi, past glimpses of the splendour and romance of Delhi’s erstwhile royalty. Explore the large spice market, Khari Baoli, where you can taste a variety of spices, nuts, and herbs, catching a glimpse of the famed Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque. Next, you’ll have lunch with Mrs Salma Husain, a renowned food historian, consultant and food connoisseur. She’s a fascinating person to talk to, about the royal kitchens of Mughal emperors and exotic recipes from the kitchens of the Nawabs.
In the afternoon, you’ll head to New Delhi – designed and built by the British in the 1920s, it is a city of wide boulevards and impressive Government buildings. After King George V transferred the capital from Calcutta to Delhi, the royal architects designed palatial buildings and tree-lined avenues with fountains and pools. Your guide will show you the incredible buildings of Humayun’s Tomb and the Qutub Minar.
After breakfast at the hotel, you’ll head out on a curated walking tour around urban ecology. This walk is an exploration of the ‘garden to table’ concept. In the first part, you’ll enjoy a foraging experience at Lodhi Gardens, in the heart of Delhi, where you learn about the edible produce of the area. In the nursery, there is a plethora of herbs and vegetables, tended to by dedicated gardeners. You will touch, taste, sniff and learn about these plants and their traditional uses and history.
In the afternoon, you’ll visit Old Birma House, in Delhi, where Gandhi Smriti died on 30th January 1948. You will see the room where he lived and the prayer ground where he held a mass congregation every evening. This was where he was assassinated – the building and landscape has been preserved since that time.
In the evening you’ll enjoy dinner at a local modern bistro.
This morning, you will enjoy breakfast in Delhi before being driven to Jaipur. It is around a 6 hour drive and when you arrive in Jaipur you will check into your hotel for two nights. Known as the Pink City, Jaipur is the capital of the colourful state of Rajasthan. Once you arrive, why not head out for a walk to soak in the vibrant vibe of this unique city. In the evening, you’ll be picked up and taken for a cooking demonstration and dinner with a local family.
You’ll be welcomed by a local family into their home, to learn the subtle art of Indian cooking. It is an important part of Indian hospitality is that a guest must never go away unfed or unhappy so believe us when we say, come with an empty stomach!
After breakfast, you’ll spend the morning exploring the Amber Fort. This marvellous example of Rajput architecture is made up of terraces and ramparts, all a rich terracotta colour that is reflected beautifully in the lake below. Each room within the royal halls is decorated with intricate ivory artwork and exquisite murals, really showing off the pomp and grandeur of a kingdom that was never conquered.
In the afternoon you’ll take a tour of the city – starting at the City Palace Complex, you’ll learn about the local styles of paintings as well as the royal family that still lives in parts of the palace. In the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, you’ll find the Mubarak Mahal. Built in the nineteenth century, you’ll be able to view a huge range of textiles and costumes, including rare pashmina shawls, Benaras silk saris and folk embroidery. Across the road, you’ll look around the famous Jantar Mantar, one of the five observatories in India. Built to indulge the passionate hobby of astronomy by the king, they created complex astronomical instruments made of stone, which still provide accurate information on the heavens above, to this day. It’s a fascinating place to explore and learn about the twinkling skies above.
This evening, you’ll head to a heritage hotel to enjoy a special Thali dinner, a traditional platter with many different dishes in silver bowls, coming together to form the perfect meal.
After breakfast, you’ll be driven to Agra, around a 5.5 hour drive. In the 17th Century, Akbar the Great made this city a leading centre of art, science, commerce and culture, which culminated in the building of the Taj Mahal, masterminded by Sha Jehan. After arriving and checking into your hotel, you’ll take a tour of Agra Fort, where you’ll wander through the chambers of this ancient royal residence. The country was once governed from here, as well as containing the largest treasury and mint. Dignitaries and ambassadors from far off lands would be brought here, each one participating in the history of India.
After exploring the fort, you will head to the bazaar to taste the local delicacy, Petha. The Agra Petha has slipped out of the royal Mughal kitchens and spilt into the streets as a thriving cottage industry. These sweets are made from winter melons, sometimes known as white pumpkins, and are delicious!
This morning you’ll head out to the Taj, for sunrise, with pink clouds and silhouetted minarets reflected in the peaceful water. Spend the morning exploring this mighty building, soaking up this awe-inspiring wonder of the world. Built by an emperor in memory of his beloved queen, it took 18 years to complete, with craftsmen working around the clock on the intricate and romantic design. With perfect proportions and distinct femininity, legend says that once the construction was completed, Shan Jehan ordered the architect’s hands cut off, and blinded, so he would never be able to duplicate the structure.
After breakfast back at the hotel, you’ll be driven to Lucknow, around a 4 hour drive. Spend the rest of the day exploring at your leisure or relaxing at your hotel.
After breakfast at the hotel, step outside for a tour of the significant sights of Lucknow. You’ll begin at the renowned Bora Imam Bara, a grand Muslim shrine that is considered a marvel of Mughal architecture. The main hall is 50m long and 15m high, one of the largest spaces in the world without any support pillars. You’ll also visit the Asifi Mosque, built in the Indo-Islamic style with massive domes and beautiful minarets, and the Rumi Darwaza, an ornamental gateway built as a replica of a gate in Istanbul.
Next, you’ll enjoy a paan tasting at a paan shop. Pann is the betel leaf, packed with some aromatic spices and special condiments that give the mouth freshener of sorts, its characteristic flavour. The association of the city with the green leaf dates to the imperial times, when the Paan chewing culture was all prevalent in the regal courts. The courts of the Mughals and the Nawabs had the culture of offering Paans to the guests, which were prepared with much skill and practice.
In the afternoon, you’ll meet a descendant of the Nawab over an afternoon tea. Talk to him about all that he has seen changing over the years in Lucknow, know a bit about his family and experience the innate etiquettes, the mannerism and the art of speech that is mastered by him. There is more to the city of Lucknow than just it’s fabulous and grand monuments, there is culture and host of cultured people and their lifestyle, which is not bound by the financial wellbeing, rather is a treasured inheritance of a few families, Nawab’s being one of those.
After breakfast, you’ll be driven to the airport for a short flight to Mumbai. On arrival, you’ll be taken on a quick city tour before heading to your hotel. You’ll visit the iconic Dhobi Ghats, where you can watch a slice of daily life at the world’s biggest open-air laundromat and the Gateway of India, a grand archway that was built to commemorate the visit of the King and Queen in 1911. You’ll also visit the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, the spectacular and historic train station was built 1887.
In the afternoon, you’ll head out on a walking tour to Khau Gully. Literally translated as ‘food lane’, this walking tour is an ode to the street food of Mumbai. If you are in the mood to tantalize your taste buds, then you are in the right place! Mumbai is a city that has adapted recipes from many other states, while creating its own local inventions. A classic example is the “Pav Bhaji” – made initially by enterprising restauranteurs looking to use leftover vegetable from the previous night. These were mashed into a “bhaji” and sold to hungry mill workers at night.
Today, we walk into the heart of Mumbai to hear such tales of its culinary history. Sample the best of local street food at Chowpatty, the city’s popular beach. Savour tea at a hundred-year-old Irani Cafe and take a bite of colourful snow cones among other street staples.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, before heading out to Nashik, a wine region around 4 hours drive from Mumbai. A visit to the vineyards and winery in Nashik will give you an insight into the winemaking process while allowing you to taste some delicious Indian wines.
Whether you are a true wine aficionado or a nature enthusiast, Nashik is a joy to explore. The pioneer of the Indian wine revolution, Sula Vineyards in Nashik, is the producer of an award-winning Sauvignon Blanc. Surrounded by hills and the quaint Gangapur lake in the distance, the vineyard makes for a perfect retreat.
Feast your eyes on the rolling vineyards set in the foothills; watch the grapes being picked, crushed, blended and perfectly bottled; and then sample the finished product in the tasting room. Sit by a wood-and-mosaic balcony, ride on bicycles past the hills, or picnic by the nearby lakes. Better yet, share the sunset amidst the vines as you sip on the ruby-red wines. If lavish retreats are your thing, a wine tour in the exotic vineyards of Nashik may just be your answer.
This morning you’ll head back to Mumbai, stopping on the way at another vineyard, which offers a complete wine experience with customised winery tours and wine tastings. Their one-of-a-kind tour, conducted by a winemaker himself, introduces guests to Vallonne wines, the process of winemaking (from grape plucking to bottling) and discerning the aromas and flavours of the wine.
Vallonne Rosé is the first to be made of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape and is on the lines of the famed Provence Rosé. They were the first to launch a reserve Malbec and have also used this rich, inky grape in a blend called Crimson Glory. Enjoy lunch at the lake-facing restaurant where South East Asian food is perfectly paired with the wines.
Back in Mumbai, in the evening you’ll head out for a cooking class at the home of a Parsi family. Parsis introduced India to some gastronomic delights, by combining the richness of Persian delicacies with quintessential Indian spices. You’ll learn a couple of traditional dishes your hosts, enjoying the friendly hospitality of the Indian home.
After breakfast, you’ll be driven to the airport for your flight home after a delicious two weeks in India.
The best time to visit India is from November to March. From April onwards the temperatures rise in preparation for the monsoon rains that follow during the summer months – travel is possible during this time but you should expect high humidity, torrential downpours and possible transport delays.
This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.