The Art of Kava Tasting on Your Vanuatu
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.
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.
|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
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.
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.
A village woman cutting coconuts
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
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.