Spice Tour // Zanzibar, Tanzania

How many times can you go to a Spice Tour in Zanzibar? Apparently not enough! I remember the first time I went in one of these tours, a MUST for tourists, in fact, most hotel bookings will somehow "include" a 2 or 3 hour Spice Tour into their itinerary. All I can remember was the extreme heat and endless walks through the tropical jungle that looked all the same to me, this was of course about 15 years ago, when I was least interested in plants, let alone exotic spices. My story evolved, and so do the eagerness to sign up for my next spice tour, we managed to fit in 2 more of these adventures during our time in Tanzania. And it got better and better every time! Not only do I recognise most species (have to say you get a flash high when you realise you know some key facts about the plant that the tour guide doesn't!), but also because I've used most of them on a regular basis, either for cooking or for healing.

I'm not a big fan of fancy recipe books. I find them very limiting in terms of ingredients. I do however, make a point of finding a local recipe resource of traditional foods, which forces me to buy locally, learn about new plant species and ways of eating them. I remember passing by this local fruit and veg vendor on the street every day, he always had enormous amounts of wild bananas of different types and it took me a while to finally ask him how they consume them. Glad I asked! He gave me the most delicious recipe for a banana porridge that I have ever tasted! I made it regularly after that and my girls loved it.

Nutmeg fruit and kernel, once dried used as a spice

Nutmeg fruit and kernel, once dried used as a spice

People say to me you should write a recipe book, and I say although I am happy to share a few, I rather give you all the tools you need to write your own!
— Mariana, The Mindful Sprout


Palm Fruit and Kernels used for Palm Oil

Palm Fruit and Kernels used for Palm Oil

I don't know about you, but I learn the most when I travel. You are exposed to all sorts of learning opportunities, and it makes you question things you never think of. Being connected with nature is even richer in terms of learning and understanding basic things like: Where does my food come from? This particular Spice Tour make us appreciate and value how spices make it from the ground to our Cinnamon Buns. The process is slightly different than just picking from a fruit tree. Same with the cold pressed and essential oils such as Coconut, Palm, Moringa, Cloves, Lemongrass, Ylang-Ylang, Neem.

Most people in the world, specially in the western civilisations, spend most of their lives in total disconnection from nature, we need to make it a priority and take every opportunity to get our children, nieces and nephews closer to nature, the more they connect, the easier it will be for them to care for it and protect it.

We can’t expect our children to care and protect something they know nothing about
— Mariana, The Mindful Sprout
Annatto fruits and seeds  (used for dyes)   AKA Lipstick plant

Annatto fruits and seeds (used for dyes)  AKA Lipstick plant

Pink Pomelo fruit , by far my favourite from the citrus variety

Pink Pomelo fruit , by far my favourite from the citrus variety

Cashew Nut tree 

Cashew Nut tree 

Image Gallery


SOURCES:

Photos by: The Mindful Sprout

Inspired Recipe: http://www.themindfulsprout.net/recipes/2014/4/3/zanzibari-spice-mylk

Books: 

  • The Spices of Zanzibar - Including fruits and useful tropical plants, by Javed Jafferji - Jaki Sainsbury
  • Zanzibar - Traditional Cookery, by Amir. A. Mohammed

  • The Jungle Effect: Healthiest Diets from Around the World--Why They Work and How to Make Them Work for You, by M.D. Miller Daphne (Author)