The World's Only Feni Cellar Opens In Goa With Tasting Sessions & BBQ Dinners
Cazulo Premium Feni Experience is an all-new way to discover the world of Feni. It involves a visit to a cashew orchard, a walk through the traditional distillery, a tasting session and finally, an al-fresco meal under the sun/or stars (in the middle of a spice plantation). Excited or what?!
What Makes It Awesome
We’ve been to wine tours, whisky tastings and the likes but a Feni tour in Goa?! This is a first, right? We had to dig deep and find out what awaits when we sign up for a Feni tour with Hansel, the founder of Cazulo Feni.
“The only notions about Feni are based on what the taxi drivers or servers at local bars have to say. Often, this isn’t without judgement. I wanted to dispel all these misconceptions and confusing beliefs surrounding Feni and its culture,” said Hansel. Now what better way to do it than by welcoming people into the world's first Feni cellar. Right?
So, Hansel, like most Goans, grew up drinking Feni – a lot of family evenings were spent in their balcao, singing songs and sipping this traditional drink. He also understands that in order to make this alcoholic beverage 'hip and cool' to someone who’s used to beer, vodka and other conventional alcohol tastes, it had to rebrand itself. The cellar, in this sense, becomes a fun and interesting way to not just learn about Feni but also about how it’s made, stored, distilled and finally, enjoyed. The tour itself is only 30 mins and is mainly about cultural insights and associated folklore and not just the science of how the drink's made.
All the guests taste three types of Feni: cashew, coconut and dukhshir. This is right inside the cellar on a long dining table, surrounded by rows of beautiful garrafões (traditional bottles in which Feni is stored). The taste of each of these variants is also broken down by a professional distiller because what’s a Feni tour without having learnt a thing or two? You’re then treated to a cocktail after which the garden bar’s officially open for folks to try out more crazy Feni cocktails.
To whole journey of getting to know Goa’s favourite local drink wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t sit down for conversations and food. The idea is to make the cellar tour very personal and so, the meal’s largely about recipes from Goan households and the chicken, for instance, is the Peri Peri chicken Hansel's grandmother would make. In short, you can expect a tapas platter and a Goan buffet that’s been thoughtfully curated (sorry, fish curry and rice, we'll see ya later).
Keen on trying it out on your next Goa trip? It’s priced at INR 2k per person and starts at 6:30pm. It typically wraps up around 10:30pm or so because people linger around for Feni refills. If you don’t want dinner, you can also sign up for an afternoon batch. Just write to them and they’ll be happy to figure it out.
What Could Be Better
Nothing. Everything about this experience is refreshing and the only grouse anyone could possibly have is that they're an invite-only space. They don't believe in making this a commercial enterprise and hence, no there are no billboards or signboards announcing its whereabouts. You won't be entertained out-of-turn either if you just decide to show up.
Hansel and his team usually host these tours on Fridays. They reveal the exact location only once people have confirmed their attendance (don’t worry, it’s not an obscure farm in the back of beyond). The last three tours have seen up to 45 people but he can cater to smaller groups as well.
Oh, and if you take 3 people or more with you, the per person fee comes down.