By: Neil Cave
You know how it is, you’re not in the mood for buffet dining and you’re not in the mood for normal a la carte dining. You want a gourmet fine dining experience. You want to spend a long slow evening savouring the very best culinary creations of an accomplished chef; complimented by excellent wines chosen by experienced sommeliers. What you want is a top-class degustation experience. A dining experience that is an occasion in-itself, one to dress up for, leave the kids, enjoy a romantic evening or some quality time with fellow fine food lovers.
I’ve been extremely fortunate enough to experience some of the best the world has to offer in this regard, on 6 continents, including a couple in the top 5 in all of Europe. When one thinks of Zanzibar, you may be forgiven for thinking such world-class degustation experiences of the highest level would be something somewhat unavailable. You may be right to some degree but there is the notable exception or two and not just available only to those can afford to stay in the most expensive and exclusive 5 star resorts on the island.
Such an exception is Zanzibar Gourmet. A unique fine dining concept in Zanzibar that takes the finest, most accomplished chefs out of the finest kitchens on the island and brings them to unique, ever changing and spectacular locations where anyone gets to experience that which the chefs themselves create exclusively for the event.
Typically, this will involve up to 9 courses with 3 top chefs each bringing 3 of their most creative dishes to the table over the course of the evening. Free of the constraints they may face in their specific restaurants, they are able to create truly unique and amazing dishes that most often are not to be had anywhere else. The finest wines and spirits are paired to each dish by expert sommeliers courtesy of the one of the top suppliers on the island and this offers a rare chance for diners to taste wines that would ordinarily be far beyond the budget of the average person if not for the generous patronage of Zanzibar Gourmet’s sponsor/supplier.
I’ve been to several Zanzibar Gourmet’s, I go to every single one I possibly can. From iconic locations like The Rock Restaurant, to mushroom farms in the middle of the bush, to exclusive dining rooms in the most exquisite new and established resort such as Tulia in Pongwe where the last Zanzibar Gourmet was held mid-March, every setting is unique and appropriate. Tulia provided a level of elegance and refinement that complimented one of the very best Zanzibar Gourmet’s I’ve yet experienced. From the tasteful jazz band to the lush gardens and exquisite table settings, Tulia set the tone with a level of class to match the level of excellence food wise.
For March 2017’s Tulia event, Zanzibar Gourmet enlisted the skills of executive chefs Mayaven Alankee, of The Hilton, Jussi Husa of Essque Zalu and Jacub Janda of Tulia. Together they brought their extensive skills from Mauritius, Europe and Zanzibar to create an incredible fusion of culinary delights that were quite simply works of delicious edible art. The event was not a molecular gastronomy nor traditional tasting plate experience; the dishes presented were creative and original interpretations of the individual chefs’ experience and finely tuned self-expression, all of which worked on every level from presentation to the way each dish complimented the progression onto the next. The tastes were wonderful and unique and without a doubt could have been served to kings, celebrities, dignitaries of fine food critics anywhere in the world with acclaim.
Over the years, Zanzibar Gourmet has become more refined and accomplished with each event, consistently exceeding expectations and inspiring the chefs to greater culinary and creative heights. These events sell out incredibly quickly to those in the know, from the island and beyond, anyone with a passion for gourmet food and fine dining goes to great lengths to ensure they get a seat at the table as numbers are strictly limited to ensure the evening is intimate.
For me, Zanzibar Gourmet represents the absolute best dining “experience” you can have on the island. It’s an evening of entertainment, great company, incredible eating, fine wines and more. The next Zanzibar Gourmet will take place at Essque Zalu under the direction of chef Jussi Husa on 21 April 2017 and the following on 20 May at the Park Hyatt in Stone Town hosted by chef Ali Cherati. If you want to know if there is a Zanzibar Gourmet event scheduled for when you are on the island, go to www.zanzibargourmet.com or follow them on facebook “Zanzibar Gourmet” to make sure you never miss out.