It’s that time of the year again – Valentine’s Day is upon us! Whether the annual day of love gives you feelings of excitement or makes you roll your eyes, it’s hard to deny that food is always at the centre of a successful V-Day.
No matter where you go in the world, food and love are always closely linked. The countries in Africa are no exception, and many of them have delicious delicacies that are perfect for your upcoming romantic evening. Show your love this Valentine’s Day by trying out these African meals!
1. Grilled Meats
All over Africa, you will easily find a cherished dish featuring grilled meats. Nigeria’s suya, a dish composed of meat skewers covered in a special blend of spices, is usually served in the evenings in Nigeria when the weather cools down and the nightlife heats up. In Kenya, any social gathering is an excuse to eat nyama choma, a wildly popular meat dish that best enjoyed with an ice-cold beer. With so many tasty options to choose from, you can’t go wrong by choosing one of Africa’s meatiest meals. Grab one of these incredibly delicious dishes on the next outing with your significant other, and let the incredible combination of flavours add some spice to your Valentine’s Day.
2. Drop Donuts
What’s Valentine’s Day without a selection of sweet treats? Virtually every African country has its own version of a donut, and each is just as scrumptious as the next. The ingredients will vary by country, but it goes without saying that sweet balls of dough fried lightly in oil and dusted with sugar are a perfect dessert. These light, fluffy, and irresistible pastries go by many names – Ghanaians call it bofrot, Kenyans and Ugandans refer to it as mandazi, and Nigerians seek out puff puff when the sweet tooth comes calling. With the perfect balance of sweet and savoury, these pillowy delights should not be overlooked when you dine with your dear one this week.
3. Gin Bitters
These traditional beverages are common all over the continent. Distilled with local herbs, the sour alcoholic drinks have a history dating back to Ancient Egypt and were believed to have medicinal purposes. Today, many are drawn to the dark coloured herbal beverage because of its natural, organic nature and the belief that the drink gives you an extra boost in the bedroom. With the extra pep in your step, you’ll get after drinking this treasured concoction, your Valentine’s Day is sure to be an exciting one.
4. Fried Plantain
Whether you call it kelewele, alloco, makemba, or dodo, fried plantain is all the rage in several African countries. Usually served at parties, fried plantain is best enjoyed with a side of peanuts or as a side dish. If the taste alone isn’t enough to entice you, the gorgeous smell of this delightful dish will truly be beyond compare. The sweetness of the plantain coupled with the aromatic and savoury seasonings is a tantalizing combination that you and your love will not be able to resist.
5. Jollof Rice
Jollof rice is one of the most common dishes in West Africa. There are several regional variations in name and ingredients. In Mali it is called zaamè in Bamanankan. The dish's most common name of Jollof derives from the name of the Wolof people, though in Senegal and Gambia the dish is referred to in Wolof as ceebu jën or benachin. Despite the variations, the dish is "mutually intelligible" across the regions had become the best known African dish outside the continent. The aroma and feel of eating good jollof can be compared to none, hence, boosting the intimacy whilst enjoying the meal.
The beautiful thing about many African dishes is that they usually eaten with the hands. Many African countries have traditions where feeding one another by hand is a loving act, and people rarely eat alone.
Eating with your hands and with others creates a deep connection with your senses and those you are eating with while forcing you to be mindful during meals. What better way to bond with your bae than to ditch the cutlery and share a meal? This Valentine’s day, show your love and create a sensuous, intimate setting by sharing the delicious African cuisine of your choice.