Great Escapes – Spring 2017

Posted - 21 Apr, 2017

TRINCOMALEE: EDGE OF THE ABYSS…

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Trincomalee, like Malé or Seattle, is a city that lives on the edge of the deep ocean. While the waters around Sri Lanka are generally quite shallow (in places, one can wade out to sea a kilometre or more), a gigantic undersea canyon begins a few metres offshore inside ‘Trinco’ harbour and turns north along the shoreline, dividing into three as it plunges into the abyss, reaching depths in excess of 3km at its mouths.This vast drowned valley is home to a wide variety of marine life, including the zooplankton and squid on which whales live. This makes Trincomalee one of the best – if not the best – place for whale-watching in Sri Lanka. Blue whales, the largest animals on Earth, are often seen, along with sperm whales, humpback whales, pilot whales (the ‘cheetahs of the sea’) and friendly, acrobatic dolphins.In season, whale watchers report a success rate of over 90%.
Formerly, it was thought that the whales so often seen off Trinco and Nilaveli were there only during the first four months of the year. Recent sightings have indicated that not only dolphins but even some blue whales are present all year round, though rough weather conditions make whale-watching impracticable between June and September except in calm inshore waters where the mass of Sri Lanka itself deflects the monsoon winds. However, this is a great time of year to sample Trinco’s other attractions, from picturesque Marble Bay to the hot springs at Kinniya.
Visiting: Whale-watching excursions out of Trinco are conducted by the Sri Lanka Navy and a few private operators. The information desk at your Uga Escapes hotel will have more information.

COOKING CLASS WITH UGA

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As many Sri Lankans will attest, there is nothing that quite compares to the authentic taste of local cuisine. The island has been influenced by many different cultures over its 2,500 year history; most notably its closest neighbour, India. Its convenient positioning on the world map has allowed for its immersion in a delightful range of cuisine that consists of both international fusions and local roots.
You can always pick out Sri Lankan dishes with ease, where rice and curry is the most common option around. They are vividly colourful thanks to the wide array of spices that are a staple and engulfed in the enticing aromas they waft. Coconut plays a vital role and is used in many different ways. From a relish to oil, milk and treacle, it is ridiculously versatile and widely available hence its popularity. You will find that many of the foods you come across will have some trace of coconut in them. Additionally, the rich soil of the country allows for the hearty growth of many different types of bright and healthy vegetables which are packed with nutrients. In fact, Sri Lankan produce is widely acclaimed and highly regarded for its enviable qualities.
Sri Lankan cooking is an art all on its own which is why we are thrilled to share the experience with our guests through cooking classes at each of our hotels; Ulagalla at Anuradhpura, Jungle Beach, Trincomalee, Uga Bay at Pasikudah and Chena Huts Yala. Local dishes include the likes of lotus roots, banana blossoms and cooked mango amongst others. The key is to expertly balance all of the ingredients, so that they complement each other without being overpowering. When so many spices are included, it can be easy to lose control; but through the guidance of our class, rest assured you are in capable hands. Take a tour of our organic herb and vegetable garden and get to know the local produce whilst choosing those that tempt you the most for your cookery class. Your selections will be whipped up into delicious creations for you to enjoy.
Our head chef, will be heading the entire experience. At Ulagalla for instance we have our own organic garden which consists of a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables around 90% of which we use in the creation of all our dishes so our guests are always assured of wholesome and nutritious food. These include Gotukola, Anguna Kola, Ela Batu and Kathuru Kola which are more local options, whilst we also cultivate Eggplant, Green Chilli, Beetroot, Spinach and Bitter-Gourd. Enjoy some fresh Pomegranate, Orange, Dragon Fruit, Mango, Lemon and Pineapple as well as Nelli, Uguressa, Jack Fruit, Kamaranka and Sugarcane.
You will have the opportunity to sample a range of different curries and gauge the ingredients for yourself. If you have any specific dietary requirements please be sure to let us know.



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