With your IFFI visit (or Goa holiday) almost done and dusted, out-of-the-box souvenirs and gift ideas are probably uppermost on your mind. And, if you haven’t the foggiest about what you could possible buy, browse through these options that are sure to delight any discerning giftee.
1. GOAN COOKBOOKS
Let’s face it – Goan cuisine is to-die-for! And, if you have an affinity towards all things culinary, you could check out the selection of Goan cookery books at the local bookshops. All these books are loaded with far more Goan recipes than you would ever find on the internet.
WHERE TO GET IT: Bookshops worth checking out include Broadway Book Centre (Panjim), Varsha Bookshop (Panjim), The Dogears Bookshop (Margao) and Confidant (Margao), among others.
2. TERRACOTTA COOKING POTS
Back in the day, saucepans and other vessels in the Goan kitchen were made of terracotta. Local curries cooked in these pots were uber-flavourful!
WHERE TO GET IT: These are available in various sizes and you can pick one up at a reasonable price in the pottery section of the Mapusa or Margao market.
3. RANGOON CREEPER
With its fragrant clusters of red-pink-white flowers, the Rangoon creeper (Combretum indicum) is an ornamental vine, which is quite a head-turner in summer, especially on a trellis or picket fence or even a hanging basket.
WHERE TO GET IT: Purchasing the plant will set you back approx ₹ 500 online or from a nursery. But, these beauties grow wild along the roadside in most parts of Goa, including Porvorim, Salvador do Mundo, Taleigao, Nuvem, Mapusa and Panjim. Keep your eyes on roadside vegetation (except during the monsoons) and you can’t miss these gorgeous masses of flowers, which you can pick up for free.
4. CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS OBJECTS
Catholic religious items such as rosaries, art, statues, medals make for unique gifts or souvenirs.
WHERE TO GET IT: With branches in Panjim and Mapusa, St Paul’s Bookshop is the go-to place when Goa’s Catholics, thanks to the large collection of religious objects, whether it’s Bibles, rosaries, medals, statues, song books and even music CDs.
5. BATICA & BOLINHA
Bebinca may be the undisputed queen of Goan sweets, but if you’re searching for something a little more low cal, try batica/bakt or even bolinha, the main ingredient of both being rawa (semolina). Batica/bakt is a ‘cake’ which contains no white flour (maida) and is very similar to the Arabian Basbousa, while bolinha closely resemble Turkish Sekerpare semolina cookies.
WHERE TO GET IT: Both sweets are available at any outlets selling Goan sweets, and are found all over the state, and especially at Christmas time.
6. MACAU CROCKERY
This blue-white style of porcelain is hundreds of years old, and reached from China to Goa via the Portuguese. It is chic, without going over the top, and can add elegance to any dinner table.
WHERE TO GET IT: Macau crockery is available from Casa Macau (St Inez & Nerul) and Lisha’s (St Inez).
Feasts and festivals in Goa just wouldn’t be the same without khajem, a confection which recently received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
WHERE TO GET IT: Khajem is available at fairs during major feasts and festivals in Goa, and these are held all through the year, except during the monsoons.
8. GOAN MASALA
You don’t need to be Gordan Ramsay or Tarla Dalal or a Michelin-starred chef to whip up great food – or at least great Goan food – when you can simply use a readymade Goan masala to prepare awesome dishes.
WHERE TO GET IT: A variety of packaged Goan masalas, such as garam masala, cafreal masala, recheado masala etc are available in supermarkets and innumerable provision stores that dot the state. Alternatively, freshly ground masalas can be found in every market in villages and cities. Although a tad pricier, they are worth every penny! Pop-up markets are also a great place to find authentic Goan masalas with amazing flavours.
9. WEDDING GOWN & ACCESSORIES
Many women dream of tying the knot in this tropical paradise, although that’s not always possible or even practical. So, what’s the next best thing that a gal can do? Get your wedding gown and accessories from Goa, instead!
WHERE TO GET IT: Many are the boutiques in Goa, such as Senor (Panjim), Anne’s (Mapusa), Emmanuvel (Margao), Body Language (Navelim) from where you can purchase a bridal gown off the rack. That said, you can also get your gown and accessories custom-made to suit your preferences.
10. COCONUT CRAFT
Fascinated by the versatile coconut, which is found in abundance in Goa? Besides having edible value, decorative objects, fashion accessories, planters and more are crafted from coconut shells, and would make the perfect eco-friendly gift or souvenir of your Goa trip.
WHERE TO GET IT: Camurlim, Parra, Tropical Spice Plantation (Keri), Aparant Goan Handicrafts Emporium (Panjim, Mapusa, Dabolim),