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The ‘queen of the hills’, once upon a time favoured shooting spot, a quick weekend getaway for the Southies, a big deal for the Northies; the mist at your feet, the clean mountain air, no plastic bags, and those lovely little bakeries that dish out the best stuff. Strangely, they are not really used by Ooty Tourism in promotions of any sort. The crumbly, buttery cookies shaped like flowers that would be brought back by the dozens from every trip. We fondly referred (still do come to think of it) to them as Ooty biscuits, served at tea time, sneaked out at all times of the day and night!


Another thing that the Nilgiris are really popular for, but you wouldn’t have heard of them till you’ve visited or someone’s brought back a box for you, are homemade chocolates. They aren’t mass produced, they come in different shapes and sizes and colourful wrapping paper and are just a basket full of joy. Not to say we don’t absolutely love our toblerone bars Lindt squares; homemade chocolate is just a very different kind of charmer.

There’s some unspoken connection between ooty and homemade chocolates and fudge. You can’t put it into words, it’s just one of those things. One of the most popular places to visit in Ooty is Charing Cross. Walk into any decent or even half-decent bakery or convenience store and you’ll find them. Shopping in Ooty is incomplete without boxes of chocolate for everyone you know. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, with almonds, cashews, walnuts, raisins, rum, strawberries…if you’re lucky enough to know someone locally, it is inevitable that either they or someone they know in the neighbourhood definitely makes chocolate at home.

And if you have the opportunity to sit in while they are being made, do not miss it. It is an assault on all the senses. Watching the chocolate melt into that glorious consistency, the smell will make you mouth water, you’ll simply have to steal a tiny wallop to try on the side while it’s still warm and gooey! The process is even more luxurious in winter; chocolate making is just so full of warmth!

As the newest member of the content team, Shivangi Rajendran comes from the world of professional dancing. With a passion for travel and a flair for writing, the Masters in Mass Communication is just an added advantage. A gypsy at heart, she doesn’t believe in planning and is always ready to pack her bags and leave.

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