Friday, October 7, 2011

A Taste of Zanzibar: Hakuna Matata

Hakuna Matata!
What a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata!
Ain't no passing craze

It means no worries
For the rest of your days
It's our problem-free philosophy
Hakuna Matata!

For anyone who hasn’t seen The Lion King, or doesn’t Speak Swahili, Hakuna Matata means, no worries, no bother, no problems!!! And it is a sentiment that you hear several times on a daily basis whilst on Zanzibar.

The people are so chilled and relaxed and obliging, it really is a paradise that makes you leave reality behind, and makes you feel  like you’re wrapped in a welcoming comfort blanket from the Zanzibar people!

Zanzibar is like no other place I’ve ever been(and I’ve been around),the minute you step off the plane you are greeted with a heavy tropical scent, that hits you straight away due to the balmy sea breeze that’s always there to keep you cool!!!I was extremely excited about the Zanzibar part of the trip, as being so into food, and Zanzibar being THE spice island, I knew I was in for a culinary treat, as well as an education in spices.

 After a short flight from Kilimanjaro Airport we arrived in Zanzibar in the evening, just in time for sunset. We were greeted by a staff member from our chosen hotel, The Z Hotel ( )and carried off in a air-con Toyota Luxury car. This was a huge change from spending the previous 5 days in a 4x4 over rough terrain. The hotel is a boutique hotel and to call it amazing, would not even do it justice, and to top matters off the main reason it scored so highly with us was the food. 

We were on a half board basis, meaning breakfast and dinner were included and we paid for lunch and drinks separately. The hotel had two Restuarants, Saruche and Cinnamon. Saruche plated up the most exquisite Swahili fusion gourmet plates, whilst Cinnamon, the bar, was a more relaxed affair serving international fare, with a Sawhili twist. Memorable dishes include the lobster dinner of course which we had compliments of the honeymoon package we were on.  As well as the amazing portions, the lobster was served with a really rich garlic butter sauce and the meat was melt in your mouth divine.

The Swahili curries were spectacular. Indian influence is deeply embedded in the cooking in Zanzibar due to the proximity of Zanzibar to India. Therefore Zanzibar’s speciality is curries. Also as Zanzibar was under Arabian rule for so long, there is a hint of Arabian/Middle Eastern flavours also. Combined with African flavours, the Indian and Arabian influence, cuisine in Zanzibar is very interesting and never boring. 

The Z Hotel often put a unique twist on classic western favourite, such as their take on Mozzarella,Tomato, Avocado, and Basil Salad. ( can’t wait to try to recreate it in a post). Also their club sandwich, was Lobster, Chicken, Bacon and Tomato. I probably won’t be able to afford to recreate that one though. (lol), I might try it with crayfish though, might be interesting!!! In general seafood features heavily on the menu, and sure why not! It's a small island after all. With fishing being the main occupation of its inhabitants. I remember at one stage saying to my husband, “I think I’ll turn into a prawn” I was eating so much of it, but that certainly was no complaint. It really is paradise for seafood lovers, getting to experience fish we never get in our waters here at home, such as kingfish. 

 I think my spice island tour deserves a whole post on its own. Though I will say to be frank, it was an amazing educational experience. Because if you’d have asked me before, where does turmeric, for instance, come from in its original  form, I wouldn’t have had a bulls clue other than its in a lovely jar with holes on the top for sprinkling purposes. So more on that later. All in all the culinary experience of Zanzibar, and indeed of the Z Hotel should go on everyone’s bucket list.

 And if I haven’t enticed you enough, need I mention their 2 cocktail bars, serving up delicious cocktails, such as caprihnas, mojitos and champagne fuzz, as well as more local concoctions, sure to put a fire in your belly and a bounce in your step. Perfect partner for watching their amazing sunsets over the Indian Ocean...

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