Based at his Noosa restaurant, the Noosa Beach House, the award-winning chef, restaurateur, TV presenter and author Peter Kuruvita says childhood experiences cooking with his grandmother in her kitchen in Colombo, Sri Lanka, remain a source of inspiration. He is an ambassador for Dilmah Tea and escorts culinary tours to Sri Lanka for World Expeditions. There are two itineraries scheduled for 2020. See peterkuruvita.com; worldexpeditions.com
Start your day at the Amangalla, a beautiful heritage hotel overlooking Church Street, where you can enjoy a colonial-style tea service followed by either a traditional or local breakfast. The impressive Ceylonese Tea menu will give you energy to head out and explore the cobbled streets of Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They also do a beautiful afternoon tea on the verandah. See aman.com
Strolling the many laneways and streets can make anyone peckish. Visit one of the street vendors or road side "tea shops" and buy an egg roll, a crispy pancake stuffed with half a hard boiled egg and a spicy fish and potato filling. "Short eats" are Sri Lanka's version of fast food. Snack on this tasty morsel as you watch the local children jump off the rampart walls into the rock pools below.
Take a look at the Old Dutch Hospital shopping precinct with its restaurants, boutiques and colonial courtyards overlooking the sea. My favourite is The Tuna and Crab run by Dharashan Munidasa, who also owns the Ministry of Crab in Colombo. Choose from the freshest sashimi to a very simple but delicious half avocado stuffed with crab meat and, if available, go for one of his chilli mud crabs. See thetunaandthecrab.com
Head back into town to continue exploring the old porticoed houses, museums and antique shops. Pedlar Street is lined with fashionable boutiques and funky little cafes including the Isle of Gelato. Cool down with amazing artisan gelato with distinctive Sri Lankan flavours. Owner Shalini Fernando went to Italy on her honeymoon and stayed to learn the art of gelato. Shalini imported all the equipment from Italy and Isle of Gelato was born. Try Puttalam Salterns Sea Salt and Caramel (no website; 60a Pedlar St).
If you are tuckered out from all the exploring and just want a cold beer and nothing fancy, then head to the Rampart Hotel (no website; Rampart Street). The rooftop bar is the perfect spot to sip on a cold Lion Lager and watch the sun set. I recommend a spicy local specialty, devilled tuna. An unofficial national dish inspired by Chinese immigrants, this Sri Lankan version of sweet and sour is the perfect accompaniment to a chilled sunset drink.
Alternatively, leave the fort and head to the stunning Light House hotel, designed by Sir Geoffrey Bauer. Arrive in time to enjoy a cocktail and rest your feet while the sun sets over the ocean. Then, settle in for a sumptuous Sri Lankan buffet in the dining room. See jetwinghotels.com