Sikkim, a small state in the northeast Himalayas, accounts for almost 90 percent of India's large cardamom production, making India one of the world's largest producers and exporters of the spice. But all of this is now at stake. The region's undulating mountains that once offered the perfect climatic conditions and fertile soil for the lucrative crop have turned into a breeding ground for pathogens -- which experts believe are caused by climate change.
One of my many failings is that I like sugar. I can't give it up. Two of my friends have given up sugar and they look fantastic. They've each lost, like, ten or twenty pounds. They're middle aged women in their fifties and neither of them is an exercise fanatic but every time I see them, they look younger and better.
While Kerala is renowned for its backwaters and the houseboats that cruise them, the terrain of its mountainous Western Ghats on the southern tip of the Deccan Plateau is spectacular too. Tangled jungle, intimate valleys and exposed ridges are interspersed with plantations and palm trees, and of course give shelter to a wide variety of animals.
After the whirlwind of holiday baking dies down, you may find yourself with a stockpile of leftover spices, especially cinnamon. It goes so perfectly ...