saudade :” a nostalgic longing to be near again to something or someone that is distant, or that has been loved and then lost; “the love that remains”

Plantation Style is a series of reflections and inspirations drawn from life on coffee and tea plantations in India, now almost completely lost. From the 1840’s, a unique lifestyle evolved around plantations in remote, unexplored locations, isolated bungalows. Lives alternated between ennui, hectic socializing and high drama,all set in locations of great natural beauty. The Club became the focal point of social life, where outdated magazines were scattered across library tables, and liveried bearers served snacks with quaint names; womens’ magazines were carefully scanned for recipes that could be adapted to available ingredients, to bring an element of surprise to tables which were supplied by back gardens and markets that were a day’s journey, or more, away.Food was a major preoccupation, driving the rhythms of the day, created by an assortment of eccentric cooks and household staff.

Food, décor, architecture and entertainment were all improvised, with the greatest ingenuity, since the nearest outposts of civilization were always miles distant. And a distinct, hybrid style evolved, when the English, Scots, Welsh and Irish met with local Indian tradition, lifestyle and cuisine, a style that was neither Indian nor British, but uniquely its own. The days began early and were long drawn out, with siestas during the stillness of the afternoons. Plantation Style is a nostalgic look at finding pleasure in the moment, enjoying little treats offered by beautiful surroundings and bringing creativity to every single day.

Kaveri Ponnapa

Kaveri Ponnapa is an author and widely published independent writer on heritage, food and wine. She is the author of The Vanishing Kodavas, an acclaimed cultural study of the Kodava people, and a collection of Kodava poems, A Place Apart, Poems from Kodagu. Kaveri is an acknowledged authority on Kodava food traditions.

  1. sonali kapoor says:

    each and every one of the photographs tells a tale of a way of being.
    love it .

  2. Etienne Sinnas says:

    Made very enjoyable reading…..the excellent photographs told a tale by themselves!

    1. kaveri ponnapa says:

      Hello Etienne, thank you for visiting this page, and I am really glad you liked the images and the idea. It’s very nostalgic, especially for those of us who experienced plantation life, and this is one way of sharing it. Best wishes,Kaveri

  3. Ashok.Somaya says:

    Well done Kaveri,everything is so tastefully compiled.The Coorgs are proud of you.Way to go !!!!

    1. kaveri ponnapa says:

      Thank you for visiting this site, Ashok,and for your kind words of encouragement. I hope you will share these pages with friends, continue to visit them, and participate. Best wishes,Kaveri.

  4. poonacha says:

    Kaveri you have surpassed yourself, thank you for portraying the Kodavas as they ought to be.

    1. kaveri ponnapa says:

      Hello Poonacha, thank you for your appreciation, it will go a long way in keeping me motivated! There’s much more to add to these pages, so do keep visiting them, and share with friends who are interested in these topics. You can also connect with The Coorg Table on Facebook. Best wishes, Kaveri

  5. uma chigurupati says:

    very tastefully done pages Kaveri, beautiful pictures. A glimpse into many aspects of Coorg. Felt like I’ve gone for a visit to Coorg and came back

    1. kaveri ponnapa says:

      Uma, thank you very much for visiting these pages, and I’m so glad you liked them. Do keep browsing, and I hope you visit Coorg soon! Best wishes, Kaveri

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Bopanna, so glad you liked the page. Do look out for new posts, there is so much of interest from that era. Best wishes. Kaveri.

  6. Shantala Thimmaiah says:

    Absolutely love everything about your page.. Its a pleasure to look at at. So beautifully done.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Shantala, thank you very much for visiting this page, and for your appreciation. I love posting, the only problem is that I am often short of time. Planning to do something about that in the New Year! There is much more coming, so do look out for it, and I would always look forward to your feedback. Warm wishes. Kaveri.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Reshmi, thank you very much for writing in. Yes, there is a wonderful collection of recipes that have accumulated over the years, and more. It is already work-in-progress, so let’s see what comes along. Warm wishes.Kaveri

  7. Bhargav says:

    This is a wonderfully creative piece of writing on the happy lives we had growing up on our own little paradises. It brings out a lot of details in such few words.
    It is a pleasure to read 🙂

  8. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

    Hello Bhargav, thanks very much for taking the time to write…It was a beautiful life,paradise indeed…it’s so good to know that what I tried to capture on this page has struck a chord with you. Do keep reading, there’s much more to come – and please share with friends who might love the same little pocket of time. Warm wishes. Kaveri.

  9. Seema Shah says:

    I’ve always lived vicariously through my planter friends … There was always that air of refinement that gave them that edge over us city folks 🙂 love that ceramic soup jar!,

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Seema, thanks for visiting this page. Yes, they did live the good life, don’t you think? Those sprawling bungalows and expanses of greenery and wilderness all around. I guess that made up for the isolation and many missing comforts. The soup jar was a ‘find’! Do look out for more posts on this page. Warm wishes.Kaveri

  10. Bijoy Venugopal says:

    Dear Ms Ponappa,
    Your food photography can work up a ravenous appetite at any time of day, even after a sumptuous meal. But that apart, it’s the air of magical decadence, of something nearly forgotten that begs to be remembered, that draws me to them. Very fine, indeed.
    – Bijoy

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Bijoy, thanks very much for writing in and for your very generous appreciation of these pages. I love the space because it allows my imagination to roam, and explore all the memories and vignettes of a past that come floating by.It’s one way of recapturing something that -as you have put it so well- begs to be remembered. If someone else shares in the remembering, it enriches the picture. Best wishes. Kaveri.

  11. BG Sreedhhar says:

    Hello Kaveri,the articles,writeup and photographs are a journey in itself.Splendid in presentation and craftsmanship.It has class and quality,back to back.My best wishes to you Ma’am.

    1. kaveri ponnapa says:

      Hello Sreedhar, it’s so good to hear that you have enjoyed the posts here, thank you very much for your kind appreciation. Do keep reading the pages, and responses are always welcome, it’s the only way to keep me in touch with people who read the blog. Best wishes.Kaveri

  12. Donna Belle James says:

    Hi Kaveri ,
    You’re a true inspiration to me! you’ve made our Coorg recipes stand out in its own classic way and with the most effortless beautiful presentation.It brings me back home and makes me feel nostalgic! Thank you..
    Love your cutleries ! I’m going gaga over them..

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Donna Belle James, thank you very much for your appreciation-it’s so nice to know that these posts take you back to a special place and time. The tableware that you like is the result of a lifelong love affair with beautiful china and flatware- little did I know that one day, I would be writing a blog! Do keep visiting these pages, and write in whenever you can. Best wishes. Kaveri

  13. Prasidh says:

    Every item presented here has a nice set of interesting points behind it. The food stuffs presented are mouth watering. Alas! I’m in Ireland and therefore too far from Kodagu to experience them.

    It is very disheartening to know that the exotic Kodava race is vanishing. I hope the state and the central governments wake up atleast now to preserve the pragmatic Kodava culture.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hi Prasidh, thank you very much for writing and for your appreciation. I hope that you get a chance to visit Kodagu someday, it’s changing very quickly, but still beautiful. In the meanwhile, enjoy the blog, and I would love to hear from you if you like a post. Best wishes. Kaveri

  14. sharmila says:

    …. utterly delicious…. to look at and eat!!!!…. the food styling is amazing.. like i said before … always makes me want to go and bake a batch immediately. The best pound cake in Ooty is found in a small bakery near the market …. to die for.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Thank you Sharmila! I hope you make a batch of madeleines soon enough, and enjoy them with a cup of tea in that ideal, rainy weather that you have. Must check out that bakery on our next visit, sounds wonderful.

  15. Saroja Shiv Mandapa says:

    Been an ardent fan of yours for a while now. An avid follower of your recipes and the stories, anecdotes that precede them make us all know weak in the knees and crave for some amazing and authentic Kodava fare! What a stunningly beautiful page you have and keep up the amazing work.

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Thank you very much for your appreciation, Saroja, and for taking the time to write. I love cooking, and each dish seems to come attached to stories, old and new. I am really happy that you enjoy them all, and the food too. Please keep reading, and yes, I hope that I will always find something to write about that will interest you on these pages. Warm wishes.Kaveri

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Sharmila, thank you very much! I’m so glad that you liked the image and the moment. Please do keep reading these pages, and I would love to hear from you if you have tried any of the recipes -and even if you have not! Warm wishes. Kaveri

  16. Meena Joshi says:

    Hi, been following you for more than two years and did connect with you earlier when I realised we were from the same college, LSR. It’s just that my little plantation in Kutta has kept me very busy. I love your blog, and have tried a few recipes too. And when I tell my friends that it’s your recipe it really adds to the authenticity of the dish, considering I am from North. Would love to meet you if you are here this summer. I live between Blr and Kutta so it would be a dream come true to meet you.
    An ardent fan and admirer,
    Meena Joshi

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hi Swapna, welcome to Plantation Style! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the posts, thank you very much for writing such kind words. If there are any strawberries left in the market, do try out this jam, it is simply stunning. Warm wishes. Kaveri

  17. Meena Joshi says:

    Hi Kaveri, I have been following you for more than two years now. In fact even wrote to you earlier when I realised that we are both from LSR. The plan was to meet up with you but I have been so busy on our little plantation in Kutta that leaves me with very little time in Bangalore. Have used a few of your recipes and never fail to tell my guests that they are your recipes. That seems to add authenticity to my dish considering I am a North Indian. I am very keen to meet you . I will be in Blr in June and even later as I hop between Coorg and Blr. Please let me know if it’s possible to meet up with you.
    An ardent fan and admirer ,
    Meena Joshi

    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Hello Meena, Thank you for getting in touch, I do believe that I wrote back to you a couple of years ago. I’m happy that my recipes have been such a success with your guests, and thank you very much for your generous appreciation. Please write to me at and I am sure that we can find a way to meet sometime, sooner or later. In the meanwhile, enjoy these pages! Warm wishes. Kaveri

  18. Shweta says:


    I have gone through your website and the articles are really good. I am so excited to submit my article related to food & cookies category on your site along with the link of my website. Please let me know if you are accepting guest post and I am ready to share my content matching with the theme of your website.

    Thank You



  19. Indu Karumbaya says:

    Magnificent! I greedily lapped up every word of plantation styles and loved every minute of being transported and immersed in another world. Truly. Your writing is evocative and elegant, and each photograph, so beautiful. Can’t wait for more!


    1. Kaveri Ponnapa says:

      Thank you so much, Indu, you are very generous. I’m so gad if this page has interested you.I always felt that anyone who had experienced life on the plantations might have found much to reminisce about. And those who hadn’t might still be interested to glimpse a world now gone. Warm wishes. Kaveri

  20. Sona Bahadur says:

    A sumtuous feast for the senses, this is food writing at its evocative best. Every story, every dish, every picture, every delightful tid bid conjures up a magical world, one that’s highly edible! A true labour of love. Kudos. 🙂

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