In a bid to popularise feni, the 'heritage spirit' of Goa, its promoters are planning to train youths to make them experts in all aspects of this alcoholic beverage. They are planning to create 'feniliers' (feni experts) just on the lines of 'sommeliers' (wine experts). A sommelier or a wine steward is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, who specialises in all aspects of wine.
"The Goa government has given feni a heritage status. So we felt the need to showcase it in a more professional way especially in the trade marts across the globe, where Goa's Tourism department takes part," said Mac Vaz, founder president of Cashew Feni Bottlers and Distillers Association. Feni is a distilled liquor derived from cashew fruit- the outer fruit surrounding the cashew nut. It has been granted geographical indication (GI) tag, which gives local producers exclusive brand protection.
Vaz said to make this alcohol more popular, "feni appreciation" sessions have also been introduced. "Just like you have sommeliers (wine experts), we have come up with this concept of feniliers (feni experts)," he said. Jaffrey Manuel, a Goa-based youth, has become the first such 'fenilier', who will now train others to become professionals feni experts, he added.
Vaz said the feni experts will operate in hotels, travel marts, events and private parties, where they will explain the nuances of feni and how it needs to be drunk. "The endeavour is to bring feni on par with scotches and whiskies," he said. Vaz said the industry intends to train many youths as possible to become feni experts, so that they can even take it up as a full-time profession.
Taking the efforts further, the feny promoters have also brought out a CD to spread information about feni. "There was a vacuum of information on the heritage spirit of Goa. The CD contains a video which is crisp, informative and entertaining. It is mainly meant for the travel and tourism industry, government departments and the food and beverage educational institutions," he said.
(With inputs from agencies.)