Goa?s Famous Feni

GOA may be famous for its sun, sand and surf. But it has also acquired a name for its cashewnuts and cashew feni throughout the world.

Cashewnuts are desired by one and all, either for eating them plain or putting them in some food, whilst cashew feni may not be appreciated by all, especially the women folk on account of its strong odour. Of course the good feni drinkers will argue and say what is wrong with its odour, and instead say its fragrance is delightful.

However one may occasionally drink a peg of feni, but cashewnuts are seldom eaten by Goans. Ironically we tend to send to people abroad or give to guests from other states more cashewnuts than we ever eat ourselves.

Perhaps we imagine that cashewnuts are our pride and hence we hasten to send the same whenever any one is leaving Goa. Yet the joy in roasting and eating cashewnuts is something altogether different.

In reality although cashewnuts have an universal appeal, cashew feni does not lag very far behind. A year ago I came across a man who was in urgent need of some good feni for some friends who were arriving from Europe. ?The unadulterated type? he mentioned to me. Another friend had casually remarked a little earlier that the best stuff could be got from a village in South Goa.

The problem was that each bottle would be costing approximately Rs 80-90, way above the market price of Rs 40-50. ?But you can be assured of it being genuine as the man does the entire process himself,? he had added. Yet there was another drawback, as even though the man who wished to purchase the feni would be ready to part with Rs 100/bottle, the person distilling happened to be a non-advocator of alcohol and doled it out basically as a medicine.

So he would sell only one bottle per person. This aspect put me in a fix when the man said that he wished to purchase no less than 20 bottles. At last, day light seemed to dawn on me as I came up with an ingenious idea. ?Why not take your friends and neighbors sightseeing to that village in South Goa and request each one to purchase at least 1 bottle and later ask them to hand the bottles over to you!? I suggested .