September’s off to a great start with a festival. I’m feeling really good about this month because there are a number of things to celebrate. As we emerge from behind the screen of a good long monsoon season, I’d like to bring your attention to a few special events happening this month. 

Starting on home ground – there’s Onam, a feast celebrated in Kerala both as a harvest festival as well as a commemoration of the legendary King Mahabali. It’s marked in many ways – you’ll see an abundance of floral arrangements and lamps and there’s the spectacular boat race. But for gourmands like me, the best part of Onam is undoubtedly the elaborate multi-course sadya. It’s usually laid out on the plantain leaf and consists of a number of select dishes including some personal favourites I don’t get to taste except during Onam. There’s the semi-dry vegetable preparation avial, the bean and gourd rich olan, the deep green thoran and the sweet payasam to name just a few. If you’re in Mumbai drop into ITC Grand Central and if you’re in Bangalore drop into ITC Windsor on September 9 for a taste of Onam. 

Skipping over to China, there’s the Moon Festival – another popular harvest festival that’s also referred to as the Mid-Autumn Festival. It’s a time when cities across the country come alive with lanterns and dragon dances and of course, moon cakes – a festival essential. But it’s an occasion to enjoy a whole range of festival cuisine as well – in Mumbai you could visit the Shanghai Club at ITC Grand Central (September 15th - September 18th) or Pan Asian at ITC Maratha(September 9th - September 17th) for an array of festival cuisine. If you’re in Kolkata, you can walk into Pan Asian at ITC Sonar from 10th September to 18th September for a culinary celebration of the Moon Festival. 

Then there’s the much-discussed German festival – the Oktoberfest – today it’s the world’s largest fair but it began as a royal marriage party for the citizens of Munich. The festival’s famous for its free-flowing beer and delicious wursts; it’s also an opportunity to try out the smorgasbord of German food specialities. Make sure you drop into Mumbai’s ITC Maratha or New Delhi’s ITC Maurya during this time for a great Oktoberfest experience in your 
own city.