Autumn is moving to winter, and if you live in Delhi, you’ll know this season presents ample opportunities for garden parties and get-together’s. I was fortunate enough to be invited to a lunch that featured only South Indian cuisine. It was a potluck of sorts, and boy, what abundant luck awaited us!

I had a hearty combination of the most exquisite Andhra chicken curry on rice and taking a cue from one of the kids at the table, mixed it well with a sambhar. Ah, the pleasures of chewing on a drumstick!

I’ve had a soft spot for the cuisine – to me, it did not mean just dosas and idlis, but included saaru, chicken sukka, pork roast, mutton stew and karuvattu kuzhambu. South India is vast and its regional cuisines offer so much variety, you’d be spoilt for choice!

Each cuisine has distinct tastes and methods of cooking; in each South Indian state, you will discover a different way to prepare sambhar. There are many such examples of the variety of cooking styles that exist in the region. Tamarind is used as a condiment in coastal Andhra dishes, but as a central ingredient in Malwani cuisine.

This month, the Chefs at ITC Hotels have taken it upon themselves to indulge and excite your taste buds. You can visit Cubbon Pavilion from the 18th – 27th of November and discover tangy hot curries, seafood delicacies and rice recipes that highlight the coastal cuisine of Andhra Pradesh. For Mumbaikars, ITC Maratha has an Andhra Food Festival till 18th November that showcases traditional Naidu cuisine. For the culinary explorer who wants to take a bite out of the west coast, Madras Pavilion hosts the Kitchens of India-Karavalli Food Festival till 28th November. You can savour a cuisine that is distinct, rich and irresistible as you partake of dishes like chicken sukka, meen pulimunchi, genji ghee roast, kozhi roit and more.  And last but not the least, there’s a Mangalorean Food Festival at ITC Kakatiya till 27th November, where Chef Santosh Shetty takes you on a beatific voyage, through recipes crafted with the inimitable Mangalorean touch.

Go find that friend who assumes South Indian cuisine is boring rasams and appams, and take them along on a culinary expedition of a cuisine that continues to surprise the most seasoned food connoisseurs!