24-10-2019 by Freddie del Curatolo
Until 30 years ago, Kilifi was the Happy Valley on the Kenyan coast.
Just inside the creek cove and the inlets of Takaungu, amidst sudden cliffs overlooking the sea and hidden white beaches, were expanses of fruit trees and cashews, green pastures for cattle and sheep, rows of sisal as far as the eye could see and corn fields.
Today the endless spaces of the "Kilifi Plantation" are no longer the pride of agriculture in the coastal region, the production of milk, fruit juices and other products is limited, the large factory where the fruits of cashew were processed has closed and many barns, furnaces, factories and warehouses have been transformed into social projects, local cooperatives, small businesses.
Just enter the road of Mnarani, just after the bridge of Kilifi, arriving from Malindi, cross the barrier and explore the dirt tracks in the middle of greenery and baobabs.
Between those who still work the sisal and other creative people that we will talk about later, a sign will invite you to discover an unusual local.
It's called "Food Movement" and it's apparently a tavern between ruined houses and disused buildings, with wooden boards in a veranda at the foot of an imposing ficus benjamin where stands out a swing made from a local canoe.
But there are many intuitions of this place, starting from the graffiti on the walls, which lead directly to two young artists who founded "4 shore", a line that markets t-shirts and other clothing with original designs produced with totally natural colors.
There is also a small shop where you can buy organic jams and chutneys from the area, baobab powder, chili and other healthy and original delicacies, as well as handicrafts and t-shirts.
A stone's throw from what looks like a model post-sixty-eight community country house, there is the Indian Ocean and the many inevitable young people from every corner of Europe and Kenya have fun with kitesurf and deep sea fishing. But the real surprise is the cuisine (otherwise what "Food Movement" would be?), entrusted to local women who have learned the culinary art also taking advantage of the presence for a few weeks of an imaginative and capable Irish chef, offering attractive and original combinations of food and colorful and artistic presentations of the dishes.
The smoked tuna is served on light fried scones and a bed of lawyer, rocket and caramelized peanuts, fish tacos or shrimps sautéed in beer with spicy tamarind sauce and many fanciful salads with zero kilometer products that are also sold in the fruit and vegetable department that is practically in the middle of the restaurant. The menu is written on a blackboard and changes every week, with some fixed points that are omelettes, scrambled eggs and combined with avocado or other "topping" and for the greedy, chocolate mahamri.
You can eat like this, drink beer (or non-alcoholic) and above all you can enjoy in the midst of simplicity, positive and carefree young people and creativity. All this in a paradise of nature and silence at the gates of Kilifi, three quarters of an hour from Malindi and just over an hour from Mombasa.
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