25-01-2017 by Freddie del Curatolo
From catering and lodging in the paradise of Che Shale to the first farm of crabs and moeche in Africa.
In Kenya Coast there is no Kenyan white man more eclectic and creative than Justin Aniere, the owner of the beach retreat that gives its name to the golden beach north of Mambrui.
A wild and magical place among the palm trees and the open ocean, without coral reefs, which since nearly four decades is one of the top destinations for a day trip, perhaps with lunch of fresh fish and shellfish, rides on shoreline, kite surfing and diving in a pristine place in complete environment.
Justin, from Spanish father and a mother of Scottish descent, but with so many Italian acquaintances, he has transformed two huts makuti and a little more in a paradise that in the simplicity of its elegance, with suites just steps from the sea which are small furniture jewels ingeniously minimalist.
But it is not a type used to stop and admire the fruits of his genius. He grew up as a little Tarzan in the wild nature of the coast, dabbles in Kitesurf and Che Shale has also become one of the meeting points of the fans around the world.
"I just returned from a voyage from Lamu to Zanzibar for charity - he tells us - along with six other riders, we have traveled a thousand miles to the steps to collect funds for the protection of the Indian Ocean. It 'was a wonderful hard work, and in the end we collected 8,000 pounds ".
A sea journey even longer and no less arduous, it had undertaken a few years ago, to bring to Che Shale a dhow, the typical boat Swahili, built in Mozambique. Now it is anchored in front of the boutique hotel.
Enough satisfied? In no way.
Justin recently has invented a new job, which is giving him great satisfaction.
"As often happens - says the owner of Che Shale - everything was created by chance. Between the live crabs that I had purchased from the fishermen of Ngomeni mangroves, there was one particularly large. He had two claws like arms of a boy. With my partner, we looked forward to a fabulous dinner. I boiled it alive and have prepared the different sauces but in time to break it to divide the precious meat, the crab was completely full of water! The pulp was virtually nonexistent. The next day I got angry with fisherman and I asked him how it could happen. "
We are in Africa, where everything happens because it must happen and hardly the answers that come can be combined with Western-style questions.
"The fishermen did not know, they simply tell me that sometimes it happens that the crab is empty and full of water. I decided to inform me, I went to do research on the internet and found out that perhaps many already know about this type of shellfish, but at the same time I had the light. "
What Justin has learned is that the crab during the stages of its growth, changes several times the shell and for a limited period of time it has deprived. The first change of the shell when it is still small and green, takes less than three hours to rebuild the carapace. The largest manufactures in order to continue to eat and grow. More crab become bigger and we will change the carapace. Here is that if he is captured soon after changed its outward appearance, the interior will not have enough body and who will cook the bitter surprise that triggered something in the fertile mind of Justin Aniere and that after the searches in network, has taken him to Thailand and Malaysia to study how to breed and feed the shellfish.
"At the first shell molt, when the crabs are still young - he explains the new fish entrepreneur - for those few hours are soft and sweet, are the famous moleche that are tasted in Venice and the Orient and are extremely valuable. My idea was to prepare the ground behind Che Shale a herd of crabs and monitor them constantly, then pick them up at the time of the shell change, freeze them and ship them to caterers or wholesalers that they ask them. "
Before long, building adjoining tanks with filtered seawater in a natural way (the oysters are doing the "dirty work"!) And raising the crab separated into individual cages (otherwise they would eat each other), Justin created a series production will increase. The demand is enormous, its customers are restaurants in Nairobi and Eastern companies delighted with quality and prices.
"A single moleca can cost even $ 6 - explains Justin - now at Che Shale is the first production of moleche Africa in the near future, but the idea is to set up the first breeding of crabs. Otherwise stored in the tanks. The crab lays whenever 100,000 eggs and 10% will be new crabs, so moleche. That's why the ocean will always find so many. You can imagine how much we can produce on the farm. Here above all we give them something to eat naturally, small fish that are greedy, and we keep spotless the tanks. We have to work 24 hours a 24, a continuous cycle."
Meanwhile Justin has not forgotten his first creature, which in the nineties had temporarily abandoned to pursue another passion, safaris (did you know that it was also the first to organize safaris to Lake Chem Chem camel?). Now to Che Chale there is a special menu where you can taste the crabs grow a few meters.
"Those who do not become moeche, we eat them ourselves. And while there are even I breed lobsters"
Advice to tourists and residents: better to eat these beautiful Indian Ocean fruits before, then if you want you can make a guided tour to the farm!
The "white world" of the Kenyan coast is about thirty miles north of Malindi.
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