Adding to its quintessential heritage, the coastal state of Goa recently got a new museum completely based on the theme of locally produced alcohol. Initiated by local businessman Nandan Kudchadkar, 'All About Alcohol' is situated in the small beach village of Candolim. Arraying a wide range of artefacts related to feni, including the traditional glass vats, the museum aggregates some of the most interesting stories about local alcohol customs from the past.
Resounding with umpteen chronicles from centuries ago!
Kudchadkar said, "The objective behind starting the museum was to make the world aware of Goa's rich heritage, especially the story of feni and the legacy of the alcohol trail from Brazil to Goa," Amid the highlights, the museum houses vats, which were used as customary glasses to serve cashew-based alcohol centuries ago.
The Portuguese colonial rulers first brought the cashew plant from Brazil to the sunshine state in the 1700s. Post the introduction of this plant, cashew plants and Feni quickly became popular across the different areas of the territory. Today, Goa shares its Lusophonian colonial influence with Brazil.
A place for exploring stories of the state's heritage drink!
Sourced from the fermented juice drawn from the cashew apple, the intoxicating variety of Feni has garnered significant patronage from the state residents and tourists alike. After being harvested from the orchards, the juice is extracted from the cashew apples, which is then fermented and distilled using traditional equipment.
Upon a single round of distillation, the drink is referred to as Urrak while Feni is prepared after double distillation. Fusing the flavours of clove, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, the drink takes another enticing form called 'Masala Feni'. Notably, Cashew Feni is the first natively developed liquor to get a Geographical Indication tag.
Besides, a parallel technique is deployed to produce Coconut Feni from Palm Toddy. The contribution of Feni to Goan culture can be gauged by the fact that it received the label of state heritage drink by the state government in 2016. This move was targeted at promoting the drink on the global platform, similar to the evolution of Scotch and Tequilla.
Displaying a string of historic utensils & equipment
After the completion of the production process, Feni was stocked in large vats for years, so that it attains the desired taste after maturation. The founder of the museum said, "We have glass garafaos (vats) which date back to centuries, an era when the Portuguese ruled Goa. There are hundreds of exhibits, each made with love and the very act of seeing them in their glory makes us feel passionate about our heritage."
In the days of yore, Goa was labeled as the 'Rome of the East' and now, this museum attempts to preserve heritage in a captivating way. Acting as a storehouse for ancient alcohol-producing equipment like utensils, glass, bottles, 'All About Alcohol' aims to provide an insightful peek into Goa's history.
Taking about the inception of this fascinating complex, Kudchadkar said, "The inspiration was simple, it was the sheer pleasure of showcasing Goa as something different as usual. The cosmopolitan world traveller visits Goa and what better place is there in India other than Goa, where you can show to the world the history, respect and flavours of our colonial drink".
- With inputs from IANS