23 August 2012

Tour and cooking course in Bali

We start for a walk to the village of Celuk Village for Fine silver making and studio. Obviously a touristy moment but interesting nonetheless.

We then proceed to the Batuan Village temple, a beautiful temple with amazing curving detail.

This is followed by a visit to one of many wood carving villages, where I spot a beautiful mask that is now guarding against evil spirits by the door of my bedroom.

Finally, a short walk around the monkey forest of Ubud completes the tour. Actually, the best part is yet to come, as in the late afternoon and evening I have booked a cooking class. As I always do when the opportunity presents itself when I travel, here too I take another cooking class of Balinese cuisine. I decide, among many options, for the half-day Lobong cooking course.

There are four ladies (from Australia, India and Lebanon) joining me for this class. We start with some explanations of the traditional Bali house structure and an introduction of real Balinese Daily Life. The Lobong are a well to do family and their house compound is impressive.

We then go for a walk in the surrounding forest to study and pick several herbs and spices that will be used in the cooking class. It's a pleasant descent into the valley and then a climb up to the house again. Along the way we stop at an ample courtyard where several ladies are busy preparing food: chopping, slicing, mixing. Very friendly and photogenic!

We then plunge in the lush forest and meet several farmers who are also there to gather precious ingredients for their kitchens. In about one hour we are back to the Lobong house and it's time to get to work!

We spend the next couple of hours cooking Balinese food under the careful supervision of the chef.

Then it's time to eat the product of our hard labor! Before that, however, we had to make the traditional offering to the ancestors. So the mother of the chef comes along, takes a sample of the food we had prepared and walks to the family altar to make an offering. Only then we are allowed to the table. It was all quite good.

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