Saturday, December 24, 2016

Midweek getaway to Tiracol | Christmas dinner, dolphin ride and stay at Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel


Who doesn’t love spending time on a lone island? Something like a little getaway somewhere in between a mad week… at a heritage hotel right across the sea. I have fond memories of the little island - of days spent by the sea, going rod fishing, cruising in the local fishing boats, crossing the bay by ferry and eating sorpotel. But after papa and nana left for their heavenly abode, our visits to the island became less frequent. Everyone got busy with life, and so did I!

Inside Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel, one of the two heritage hotels in Goa. In frame - Church of St. Anothony of Padua and the rooms on the left.

So yes! I was excited about this trip to Tiracol. A sort of a midweek break to the calm island towards the extreme North of Goa. The cab take a while to get to Siolim scurrying through the peak hour traffic, but the journey got a lot better as we crossed the beach towns of Morjim, Mandrem and Arambol until we reached the ferry wharf at Querim Beach. It took us around twenty minutes to get to the fort from there.

It was already dusk by the time we entered, and the Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel was already buzzing with guests for their Christmas dinner. I settled in to my room and got out clad in a simple sweater dress and boots styled by my mom. The guests had already begun getting their drinks and appetisers. I got myself a drink, skipped the cheese bar and went upstairs to their restaurant area before the entire crowd moved upstairs. There were around sixty guests at their open restaurant inside the fort right opposite the church.

Christmas dinner #ootd

I know it’s a creepy feeling to be partying and staying at a former defence fort. But being at a place with such a great sense of history is an experience in itself. The evening got fun as the live band began performing and the entire venue was lit up to celebrate Christmas.

Starting the night with wine

They had a pre-set menu and the food kept coming on the table. First up was the watermelon and feta salad with coriander and mint dressing. Even though I didn’t enjoy the salad (I never do. Everyone else on the table did eat it), I loved the plating. Totally complimenting the Christmas theme – the reds of the watermelon, whites of the cheese and greens of the coriander did give it a very Christmassy feel. So thoughtful of the chef!

Watermelon and feta salad with coriander and mint dressing

Next up was the soup – a super large serving at that! The hot roasted cauliflower and garlic soup with crispy spinach did feel perfect for the winter night! We washed down the underlying tone of creaminess with a glass of wine! A delicious plate of filo pastry with stuffing of prawn, ricotta and asparagus on black tahini and saffron soon followed!

Roasted cauliflower and garlic soup with crispy spinach
Filo pastry with stuffing of prawn, ricotta and asparagus on black tahini and saffron

 The highlight of the evening, for me, was the next course. A perfect blend of veg, seafood and meat on a platter. Rawa fried fillet of sea bass on Goan chorizo risotto and veggies topped with crispy fried okra. The Goan sausages added a flavoursome twist to the risotto. Oh wait, not that I’ve been to Italy and tried their authentic risotto! I loved how the fish was made (I love fish anyways)!

Rawa fried fillet of sea bass on Goan chorizo risotto and veggies topped with crispy fried okra
Fish and zucchini

The meal ended with a silken tofu cheesecake with ginger crumble and pickled lime! It was a wonderful evening with great company and lotsa fun talks with blogger friends! Yes, we were on a media table – most of them known to me, but I managed to make friends with the others too!

Silken tofu cheesecake with ginger crumble and pickled lime

I retired to my room soon after. It was the first suite – called Monday. They have seven rooms and suites in total and each one is named after a day of the week. All of them are done up differently and are different sized as well. There was a TV which I didn’t watch, a spacious bathroom, giant wardrobe, dressing table, full length mirror and couch! I loved how my bed had this elegant coral floral bed spreads. So pretty! It opened up to the view of the sea which I only managed to wake up to next morning.

Pretty bed
View from the room
View of the entrance and restaurant, also in frame is the statue of St Anthony
Breakfast

The morning was spent having breakfast at their restaurant. A freshly made glass of watermelon juice and bowl of fruit juice followed by eggs with bacon and toast, all with a wonderful view of the sea. The dolphins were just waking up and starting to leap as we finished our breakfast and headed for the dolphin spotting ride.

#ootd for the morning

We drove till the ferry wharf and got into a little wooden boat rode by a villager. He took us on a guided tour along the coast, then towards the Querim beach and eventually until Redi in Mahrashtra. He even told us where Goa ended as we entered Maharashtra.

#selfie from the dolphin ride

The dolphin ride was a super experience. Not my first time, but this time, I spotted way more dolphins than I did the last time. We were in the sea for around an hour before we went back to the resort. Shortly, we left for Panaji and got back to work. It sure was a fun midweek break!

Picturesque vistas 

For details and bookings: Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel. You can follow my food and travel diaries on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Zomato and Snapchat @flexcia_dsouza.


Videos:

Christmas dinner + room tour at Fort Tiracol Heritage Resort

A video posted by Flexcia D’souza (@flexcia_dsouza) on

Dolphin spotting at the Tiracol Bay

Such a #surreal experience dolphin spotting at the bay this morning! My second time going on a dolphin ride, the first one was at the bay in Gokarna, a #travelog of which is up on the blog www.flexcia.com ❤ But during today's trip, I'm amazed by the number of dolphins we spotted. We were in the sea for about an hour - started from the Tiracol ferry wharf, cruised parallel to the village, then circled around Querim beach for a bit and eventually went towards Redi in Mahatashtra before coming back, and all along the way, there were so many of these pretty creatures. Not forgetting the ones we spotted from a distance while at our breakfast table earlier. They put up quite a show I must say! . . . . . . . . . . . . #dolphins #dolphin #dolhinspotting #dolphintour #fort #firttiracol #northgoa #unexploredgoa #explore #adventure #backpacker #wandering #wanderingsoul #TravelDiaries #wanderlust #wanderluster #travel #followme #traveling #traveller #travelgram #travelgirl #travelindia #traveldiaries #travelblogger #natgeo #travelingyourplanet #natgeotravel
A video posted by Flexcia D’souza (@flexcia_dsouza) on

Text, photos and videos: Flexcia D'souza 
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