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Destinations, Food, Musings, Zanzibar

Cardamom Spice Tea: Bitter and Sweet on a Spice Tour in Zanzibar

October 31, 2012

“Zany Zebras Zoom Through Zanzibar!”

Alphabet cassette tapes of the 1980s pained a wild and colorful picture of a place in my childhood mind. Twenty years later, I heard Lynn Rosetto Casper’s voice through my iPod headphones. She was chatting with a Splendid Table listener who had recently returned from Zanzibar, and my imagination again filled with scenes of spice plantations and market stalls. I could almost smell the coconut and cinnamon and cardamom spice as Lynn rattled off recipes, and I was smitten by the sounds of such an exotic trip…

I remember Ted and I sharing travel planning dates at Townshend’s Tea in NE Portland, drinking alternating pots of highland, kashmiri, and masala chai…plotting our great escape. When we pinned down our travel route and sorted flights, this Tanzanian island off the eastern coast of Africa moved from fantasy to reality, and I could barely contain my excitement at the thought of tracking my favorite spices back to their origins.

My highest hopes:

1) Seeing my kitchen pantry spices growing in fertile soil under tropical sun

2) Bringing my cookbook-world to life by learning a recipe or two from someone living on the island

Like most visions of the unknown, reality came in different shades. Continue Reading…