Jambo Zanzibar! (Part III – the fabulous world of spices)

Today is heavily snowing here in Bucharest and I cannot come to think that precisely one month ago I was still in lovely Zanzibar. Today, I’m stuck at home because it would be an adventure to get to the office with this snows and one month ago I was sweating like a pig fox in the forest trying to guess as many spices as possible.

And let me tell you about that, because it was a very interesting experience, especially for me since I have been passionate by cooking (baking sweets largely, since I have a certification as a baker, but I have done some other cooking stuff also) and by international flavors. Smells and flavours   have always stuck in my memory the strongest and I liked the way the smell of curry makes me think about that time I got to see the kitchen of an Indian restaurant and get to taste all the incredible dishes they were making there, or how the smell of coffee lights up memories of summer passed on the Italian narrow streets with an espresso corto in hand watching pigeons devastating a table next to ours.

But now I have something new to add to the list of intense flavors that light up my imagination, and that is ylang-ylang. I have never known how a lot of the spices that I now use for cooking and even tropical fruits grow and I guess I’ve never wondered enough just to google it. But I was lucky to have the chance to see everything with my own eyes, in the Spice tour I’ve taken on the island of Zanzibar.

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Ylang-Ylang flower

I don’t know if you have ever felt like the world around you is boring, that you just walk in circles doing the same things over and over, that they become the automatism. Well, I feel like that very often, and that is why I travel. In order to expose me to new places, new feelings, different cultures and people. And the experience of Spice tour was just that: an escape out of the ordinary, that would offer me the chance to see, smell and taste all the incredible tropical flavors.

I liked very much the format of the trip, that would not allow you to get bored or distracted, not even by the fact that the place was very hot and humid. But who cared? You had to guess what that tree or fruit was, what that leaf was used for, what part of that plant are we using?

The experience had 3 stages:

  1. Seeing how plants grow and are harvested.
  2. Tasting some fresh fruit and having someone demonstrate how the coconuts are taken from the trees
  3. Eat some local spicy food together with the local people and get to buy some species to bring back home
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In Romania, we don’t use nutmeg so much, but in Zanzibar, it is known to give “special powers” to women ;))
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This guy was totally crazy and so cool because not everyone can climb a coconut tree and get down with the tasty fruit

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Women (and not only) love this one thing right here in all forms and tastes, chocolate is the number one dessert
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I would have never guessed that this is something I use very often in…well..everything – ginger
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Cloves are a special and important resource for Zanzibar, being so rare and expensive, they can be sold in large amounts only by the Government
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Looks can be deceiving. Initially, we thought it was lychee but it was not 🙂 The fruit is called “lipstick fruit” and it is used to paint your body for different activities and holidays

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Spice Island (2)

Spice Island (7)

Author: IngridZenMoments

I am Ingrid, a 29 year old woman (even if it still feels funny to say this, I am a child at heart) living in Bucharest, Romania who is trying to blend in travelling (whenever and wherever possible), reading and yoga into the boring corporate life of a financial controller.

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