The Elephant Cafe’s Mongongo Nut Florentine

Few places on Earth can match the serenity, view and ambience of The Elephant Cafe. So it’s easy to see why this tranquil location, just outside of Livingstone, Zambia, repeatedly holds the top spot for Best Restaurant in Zambia, according to Trip Advisor.

Here, you’ll listen to the gurgling rapids of the Zambezi River as you sip top-quality wines and indulge in fantastic cuisine with a unique local spin. Top that off with an elephant meet and greet, and you’ve got what most would consider a perfect day in Africa!

The Elephant Cafe is well known for incorporating foraged ingredients into its dishes. Mongongo nuts are loved by humans and elephants alike! However, Mongongo nuts have impossibly hard shells, making them tough nuts to crack. Luckily, foraging is made more accessible with the help of elephants!

The elephants enjoy the sweet fleshy fruit on the outside of the Monogongo Nut found high up in the tree. Elephants cannot, however, digest the hard nut inside. So when the remains come out the other end, the nut is still perfectly intact and protected by the indigestible outer shell. The nuts can then be collected, cleaned, and cracked using a flat rock and heavy round stone. The shelled Mongongo nut is now ready to make this delicious dessert beloved at The Elephant Cafe, served with Mungomba (wild sour plum) ice cream.

Nut florentine with ice cream made from foraged mongongo nuts for The Elephant Cafe in Livingstone, Zambia


  • ½ Cup Cake Flour
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup currants or dried wild Fruit
  • 1 ½ cups Mongongo Nuts, roughly chopped
  • 50ml Cream 
  • ½ cup Butter 
  • ¾ cup Caster Sugar 


  1. Lightly grease a baking tray while preheating the oven to 180C degrees.
  2. Sieve the cake flour and salt into a large bowl, and then mix in the currants and mongongo nuts.
  3. Stir continuously while melting the butter and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  4. Remove from the heat and gently stir in the cream. Add to the flour mixture and combine until it resembles a sticky dough.
  5. Using a teaspoon, scoop out the mixture onto the baking sheet, pressing each individual scoop down as flat as possible. Leave ample space between each one for expansion.
  6. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for about 12 – 15 minutes. Keep a close eye to avoid them burning.
  7. Remove and cool – you can quickly and carefully reshape the Florentines into circles if they have spread substantially. Gently transfer to a cooling rack and top with your favourite ice cream right before serving. 
  8. Makes approximately 25 biscuits 

A stack of nut Florentine biscuits