The best way to understand a country is through its food, and Maria Bradford’s new cookbook, Sweet Salone, is a love letter to Sierra Leone and its rich culinary culture. Having launched on Thursday 13th July, the book is packed with vibrant recipes celebrating Bradford’s flavorful experiences as a child in her hometown, Freetown.
The book’s publication is well timed, given the focus on Sierra Leone’s burgeoning tourism agenda this year, and the surge in high-end West African restaurants such as Chishuru, Ikoyi and Akoko cropping up across London.
With creative recipes that celebrate West African ingredients such as hibiscus, chilli, smoked fish, tamarind and okra, Maria’s cookbook honors her country’s street food, Afro-fusion dishes and local desserts and drinks.
For intrepid travellers interested in visiting the country and experiencing the gastronomy firsthand, it is now easier than ever to visit Sierra Leone. With a brand-new airport having opened in Freetown in March, developments in infrastructure and investment in the destination’s eco-tourism offering, 2023 is allowing global visitors improved access to Sierra Leone and its culinary delights – a foodie destination ripe for discovery and exploration.
As a small country on the west coast of Africa, throughout its history Sierra Leone has always embraced diversity – forged by history, people and place, the cuisine is completely unique. Freetown, in particular, is an eclectic melting pot of different cuisines ranging from Sierra Leone’s national dish, cassava leaves, West African classics such as rice, stews and fufu, street food such as puff-puff (fried dough balls) and kukhri (rice and sauce) to Lebanese inspired dishes influenced by the country’s migrant history. It is no wonder that Sierra Leone has been nicknamed, Sweet Salone, with such delicacies on offer.
Culinary highlights from Sierra Leone:
- Groundnut stew: stew made from peanuts, tomatoes, meat and onions
- Cassava bread: bread made from the starchy root of the cassava plant
- Krinkinand fishballs: traditional Krio dish usually served in beach areas around Freetown
- Pepper soup: very spicy soup made from hot peppers, tomatoes, onion and garlic
- Benny cake: Moorish sesame seed and sugar biscuit
For recipe inspiration, order Sweet Salone on Amazon.