Since civilisation started an unfathomable number of years ago, the world of food has constantly been in a state of evolution, adapting to different seasons, geographical locations and even for different festivities. While the northern parts of the country face climates ranging from cold to pleasant, the southern half has a summery and tropical weather (barring the hill stations). And talking about geographical factors that affect the country, it is these very factors that make it possible for some unique agricultural products and eatables to be found in the country. So much so that they have been bestowed with the GI Tag (Geographical Indicator). The GI Tag is given to certain products that are infamously native to that region.
As of 2023, India has over 400 GI tags, all spread across industries like agriculture, textile and handicrafts. Now don't worry, we won't discuss 400 GI tags, for the sake of education, but we will disclose 10, for the sake of curiosity.
Scroll further to read about some well known GI tags and some that may come across as a surprise.
In the year 2004, Darjeeling Tea was given the GI tag. The farming for Darjeeling tea was started in the 1830s, while India was still under British rule. Today about 87 acres of land is used to grow these tea leaves, employing over a lakh of people. Apart from this, the Darjeeling logo and the word itself is protected under The Trade Marks Act 1999 and registered as the certitifaction marks of the Tea Board of India.
Nestled amidst the lush hills of Coorg, Karnataka, the Coorg Orange is a cultivar of the fruit that captures the essence of its picturesque origin. Also known as Kodagu Orange, they received the coveted GI tag in 2006, a testament to the unique flavours and aromas it bears, owing to the region's climate and the rich, volcanic soil of the Western Ghats.
Kerala's pride, Njavara Rice, exudes history and health benefits. The grain, steeped in tradition, was honored with a GI tag in 2007, a recognition of its storied Ayurvedic value and the mystique created by the nurturing climate of 'God's Own Country.'
From the enchanting Malabar coast of Kerala, Tellicherry Pepper reigns supreme in the world of spices. Earning its GI tag in 2006, these peppercorns stand as a testament to the bountiful Kerala monsoons and the fertile soil, producing bold grains with unparalleled flavor.
Nendran Red Bananas
Kerala's Nendran Red Bananas are a sensory delight, if you've ever had the opportunity to try them. Their GI tag, bestowed upon them in 2014, honours the sumptuous sweetness, velvety texture, and vibrant red skin. All these qualities are a tribute to the age-old agricultural traditions nurtured in the state's tropical embrace.
In the rugged terrain of Mizoram, the Mizo Chilli thrives, producing fire and flavour like no other. The GI tag it received in 2015 celebrates the unique climate and soil that contribute to its blazing spiciness.
Tripura Queen Pineapple
From the lush landscapes of Tripura emerges the Queen Pineapple, a regal fruit of sweet abundance. It donned the GI tag in 2015, a crown earned through its unrivaled sweetness, juiciness and the fragrant aroma woven by the local climate.
Monsoon Malabar Coffee
The Monsoon Malabar Coffee from the Malabar coast in Kerala is a coffee aficionado's dream. Bestowed with a GI tag in 2008, it boasts a flavour crafted by the monsoon winds, a taste that reflects the mystique of the region.
Goa's Khola Chilli is popular for their deep red colour and a mildly pungent flavour. The GI tag it received in 2020 and exclusively grown in the eponymous village, they are also known as canacona chillies and are rich in potassium, magnesium and manganese.
Gulbarga Tur Dal
Hailing from the heart of Karnataka in the Gulbarga district, the Gulbarga Tur Dal, bearing a GI tag since 2019, embodies a rich tradition and exceptional taste. Its excellence is a result of the region's distinctive varieties of tur dal and the time-honored processing techniques.
Now that you've got a little glimpse of India's GI tagged products, how many of them were you already aware of?
Natasha Kittur is an aspiring writer. Her love for anything with cheese and spice is profound, but a white sauce pasta always tops her list. In her free time you will catch her reading or watching crime books and shows or go on and on about psychological experiments and theories. She aims to write a book in the fictional genre someday.