We are excited to introduce Kikwetu mandazi, a delectable Kenyan pastry which is the perfect complement to your cup of Kikwetu coffee. This pastry has a long and meaningful family history and we feel privileged and grateful to be able to share it with Chicago.
My brothers and I rolled, my mother kneaded and my sister fried. We each ate two for breakfast and packed ten in our book bags. During the morning and lunch breaks at school, we spiritedly peddled the delicacies around the school grounds, selling them to students and teachers alike, valiantly fighting the urge to devour them ourselves. In the evening, we sat around a low table in the kitchen to count the money we had made. The money went into a Kimbo jar - savings for more flour, more kerosene, more oil. Under the light of a flickering lamp, we gave hearty thanks. We then ate supper, completed our homework and started kneading, rolling and frying all over again. Over weeks and months, jars filled up and multiplied, life got a little lighter..
Journey to Chicago
For many years, I have made mandazi for friends in Chicago. The pivotal point happened years ago when my mother was visiting from Kenya. I returned from work to find her making mandazis with our kids. Ari rolling, Nia cutting, Grandma frying and Zoe eating. it was hard to suppress my emotions as the memories came rushing back. It was then that we decided that these mandazis had to be a part of the Kikwetu journey. Its a joy to be able to share this delicacy that has such a long and meaningful history with our friends and family here in Chicago.
Here in Chicago, we have made friends with people from around the world and we have learned alot in the process. In Kinshasa, they call it mikate, puff puff in Accra, Beignet in New Orleans, Quragh in Mogadishu. We have come to appreciate that different countries, regions and families have applied their own twist of creativity on this delicacy: different styles of kneading here and a splash of this and that ingredient there. More importantly, we have learnt that each variation has a unique and personal story. We think this is beautiful! One of the most alluring things about Chicago is the opportunity to stumble into these connections that inextricably bind us, reminding us that our stories are different yet the same, divergent yet intersecting. We are glad to have a chance to share a piece of our own.
Make sure to get the Mandazi with your coffee. It was so good, I refused to share with my brother and had to force him to order some of his own. I tried their hot coffee and it was delicious. Next time I order from them I'll grab some beans as well.
Kikwetu coffee sure does awaken your senses. Boma is my go-to coffee each morning to get my day started right. My order arrived on time, my cup of coffee was still fresh and flavorful and the mandazis were absolutely delicious. My favorite was coconut!