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The Spices of the Zanzibar Islands

Of spices produced on Zanzibar many people think of cloves assuming, erroneously, that the humble clove is the only spice grown on the island. Indeed to arrive on Zanzibar in the clove season is to be met by a clove scented breeze. The huge clove trees, which may be up to 150 years old, fill the air with their aroma.The coves are the flower buds and are harvested from the trees and laid out on palm leaf mats to dry. When driving around the islands many of these mats are spread alongside the roads with the buds drying in the sun.

Zanzibar at one time produced 90% of the world's cloves and along her sister, Pemba Island, produces tones of cloves every year. Zanzibar also produces many other spices and these include aniseed, bay leaves, black pepper, cardamom, chili, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, turmeric, lemon grass the list is not exhaustive; up to fifty different spices are grown here.Cloves are used in wines & spirits, cooking, pickling, flavoring tea and coffee; oil is taken from the stems and this oil is used for both sweet and savory dishes. Spice tours are offered on Zanzibar and best organized and taken from Stone Town; the main Town, port and entrance to the spiced islands. These tours are very good and apart from getting a chance to see the spices and to buy spices and their products from the people who produce them.


For further information on Tanzania, Kilimanjaro and the islands of Zanzibar. http://www.betheladventure.co.uk uses tourism to fund community initiatives focused on the education of the young and the medical care for the whole family.

By: Ian Williamson


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