Zanzibar information

Swahili Cooking Workshop

Zanzibar’s cuisine and culinary influences are as exotic as the island itself: a literal melting pot of flavours from Portugal, the Middle East and India. The tasty fusion food is made rich with the freshly picked herbs and spices which gave Zanzibar its ‘Spice Island’ moniker.

This genuinely authentic culinary workshop will take you to the heart of the spice farm region, teach you how to select and blend an array of spices, create souvenir blends, and guide you through cooking a traditional Swahili meal.

The Details

Setting out from Stone Town you will be driven to the lush spice farms near Kidichi (30 minutes). Here you will meet your local host, Murtala, who will take you back to his family home. In the outdoor cooking area, you’ll first learn about the properties of various spices, and how they can be crushed and carefully blended together to create extraordinary flavours. You will discover which combination of spices produce the best masala chai (spiced tea), learn how to create the perfect flavour blend for an aromatic curry, and experience grinding up your own spices with the giant pestle and mortar to produce a personalised spice blend for use back at home.

Armed with your knowledge of the flavours, it is on to preparing and cooking a traditional Zanzibari meal. You will be shown traditional cooking techniques, from the specialist tools used to scrape out a coconut, to cooking over a charcoal stove. You’ll prepare hot Badhia (falafels), learn how to grind up a coconut and extract the fresh milk, and chop a colourful selection of seasonal vegetables to which your blend of freshly ground spices and creamy coconut will be added. Whilst the food simmers and the tantalising smells spread, you’ll enjoy some tropical fruit juices, before finally tucking into your utterly delicious feast of aromatic pilau rice, vegetable coconut curry, Katchumbari salad and crisp herb falafels with a coconut chutney, all washed down with freshly squeezed tamarind juice or fragrant tea.

Furahiya chakula chako! (Enjoy your meal!)

Start time and location: You will be met by your guide at your Stone Town hotel around 09:00 and driven to the spice plantations near Kidichi to start your workshop.

Duration of excursion: This is a half day workshop and includes lunch; you will typically arrive back in Stone Town early afternoon. The exact itinerary for this excursion is very flexible, and can be easily combined with a spice tour.

End location: Your workshop will normally finish in Stone Town, however it is possible to drive from Kidichi on to a beach hotel.

Maximum people on tour: This is a private workshop, and will be booked exclusively for your party. Due to the nature of the workshop this excursion is best suited to groups of four or under.

Your guide: Your guides for this workshop will be Murtala and his wife Khamisi. Murtala is originally from the island of Pemba, and has been dealing with farming spice farming and guiding spice tours for over 10 years. Murtala and Khamisi love what they do; they are natural hosts with a true passion for cooking and spices.