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SHORT BREAKS COOKING : INDONESIA COOKING VACATIONS

INDONESIA
. . . the land of a thousand islands

The name Indonesia is derived from 'indos nesos' meaning islands near India, The country is in fact the largest archipelago in the world with a thousand islands, 17,508 to be precise, spread over an area between the Asian continent and Australia, and between the Pacific and the Indian oceans. The main islands are Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Bali, Kalimantan, Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, and Irian Jaya which is the western part of New Guinea. The islands are inhabited by many tribes with their own diverse cultures and languages.

The island of Bali has a vibrant culture and a friendly people. Its scenic beauty make Bali an island which seems almost unreal in today's modern world. With a completely different lifestyle from the rest of Indonesia, the Balinese have managed to preserve their culture despite the overwhelming foreign influences brought by the increasing number of visitors. It is mountainous in the centre with a cluster of volcanoes of which one is the active Mount Agung and considered sacred. Terraced rice-fields dominate the landscape, with small streams bringing water for irrigation. The attraction of Bali is its unique art and culture.

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In Bali there is ordinary daily food and festival food intended for the gods. Regular daily food is based on rice, with a range of spicy side dishes including vegetables, a small amount of meat or fish, and a variety of condiments. Rice and the accompanying dishes are cooked in the morning, after a trip to the market, and left in the kitchen for the family to help themselves to whenever they are hungry. In contrast food prepared for festive occasions is elaborate, often exquisitely decorated and eaten communally. The spices, seasonings and secret touches that make Balinese food unique are just awaiting discovery. Although not very well known outside Indonesia the cuisine of Bali it is very worth while trying.

 
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