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Page: Kava Tasting in Vanuatu - Popular drink made from Kava Kava Root

Kava Tasting

The Art of Kava Tasting on Your Vanuatu Holiday

During your stay in Port Villa or any of the resorts, the art of kava tasting should be on your list of things to do. Famous in Vanuatu and the South Pacific, kava is a root-based drink that mixes ground kava root and water.

The mixture is then offered in varying sizes to its guests. Vanuatu kava tasting is usually provided in a number of locations, including some resorts and hotels, although the best locations are those that create an ambiance as well.

Kava Kava Root

Traditionally, special rocks were used to crush the kava root into a fine powder. Ground kava root would be added to a large pot of water. The kava was then poured into coconut shells for guests, like a Chief, to enjoy at ceremonies and such. Due to health factors, most places have different methods for grinding their kava root, like with a meat grinder. They also have plastic bowls, which they call shells, rather than real coconut shell since they are easier to clean and reuse.

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Melanesian feast night involves a rich buffet-style feast prepared in the traditional way,
with earth-oven cooked foods and locally grown fruits. The night usually begins with
kava kava tasting, which is traditionally served in small wooden handmade bowls.
Local string music, singing and dancing accompanies the feast, inviting visitors to join in.

Kava Tasting Experience

For most, kava tasting is more about what it can do for you than how it tastes. In fact, for many, the taste of kava is less than pleasant. With a mixture that looks like brown, muddy water, it tastes exactly as such by almost everyone who drinks it.

As such, most people spit out the muddy residue which stays in your mouth once the shell is emptied. After the residue is gone, a sweet treat or something of similar nature can be eaten to remove the aftertaste from the mouth. Kava tasting is truly a unique experience.

Kava Kava Benefits

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A village woman cutting coconuts
However, kava tasting is said to offer many benefits, though those benefits differ depending on whom you ask on the island. It is important to note that while kava is not alcoholic, it does have an intoxicating effect.

Although the shells range in size, typically two to four shells are all it takes to create a relaxing, numbing feeling for anyone partaking in the kava tasting. Many locals will teach you that, as this numbness sets in after the first drink, the kava should allow you to reach a relaxed and meditative state-of-mind.

It is also important to understand that where you try your kava tasting will determine who can partake in the festivities. On some islands, only men are allowed to drink the kava once it has been prepared. On other islands, both men and women can enjoy the kava.

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