Beautiful Balinese Vibes

One of the most magical experiences in life is reconnecting with nature. A nature so rugged, wild and beautiful that many will never see in a lifetime, let alone get to visit, experience and truly submerge yourself to get lost in the intoxicating sights and sounds of the rainforest...

On my most recent trip to Bali I tried a berry, fresh form the vine, a bit like a mountain raspberry that was truly delicious and even after 22 years of professional catering I had just eaten my very first one. This got me thinking...

How lucky are we to be able to go to a shop, a greengrocer, butcher, fishmonger or baker and just buy what we want?

Most people take this for granted. Including those of us who are not mobile who can order their groceries online.

Transport yourself to where we grow in Karangasem Regency in the East of Bali...

Pretty much scooter and on foot are the two options for travel around here.

We opt for walking, and every once in a while you get to a truly breathtaking sight, sound or taste sensation that will live with you forever!

This was one of the first mangosteen I had tried wild from the forest. I had eaten the low grade imported ones across the globe previously, but you simply cannot replace or re-create this magical fruit taste away form the base of the tree from which it fell...

During my many visits to the rainforest we encounter all sorts of bugs, animals, birds, flying insects, snakes and monkeys... The sound that I first heard when I saw my first wild growing vanilla vine was that of a cicada (see link) and watch the video below to hear for yourself what this tiny insect creates. A truly deafening sound I like to refer to as the vanilla alarm to ward off evil vanilla barons and predators on two feet pretending to be your friend. A true superhero protecting our farmers form the unwanted advances of unscrupulous vanilla buyers, traders and sellers!

Following a trek up the forest to visit my vines in one of our orchards we stumbled across preparations for a ceremony with all the local women making food, trays, and all manner of goods to be consumed and used by the villagers. They say if it ends in "day" there is a ceremony for it in Bali. I tried my very first real rice cake on this day, again after 22 years in the trade and I can tell you this memory will live with me for a lifetime and I implore you to visit so you can taste some of the magic of Bali too!

Around every corner, we see water. Water is life here in the jungle and the villagers have been channelling the rain gulley and irrigation systems here for hundreds if not thousands of years from the top of the mountain and distributing it across the fertile plains of the volcanic region.

Water conservation is at the heart of our efforts, preventing run off and soil erosion which allows the jungle to grow at such phenomenal rates...

The skill of local people who manage and look after this land doing back breaking work in searing heat in some of the most dangerous and inhospitable environments you will experience is truly mind-blowing! The natural beauty of these surrounding areas is sadly one of the biggest assets in the region and sadly tourism brings people and people bring pollution. We are working really hard with villagers to educate them on shying away form single use plastics which in the food industry sadly are all too often used for convenience. In January when we launch our vanilla tours you will be able to help join us and make a difference to these communities and help us to pick litter as we tour the rainforests in Eastern Bali.

I will sign off this blog entry by posting a little video of what we saw at the top of our trek which although not very clear in the video shows truly outstanding views from the top of the mountain down to the ocean below, on an almost vertical drop down the other side of the hill we just scaled.

Tired, emotional, but inspired by what I have seen I fall in love with Bali a little bit more with every new experience I have here.

Namaste :)

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