Discovering Delicious Traditions
Charlene Chisvo always had a deep love for food and cooking growing up. She found herself doing the odd catering and baking job to make some extra cash but her interest in traditional ingredients was piqued after she manned a food stall at the 2015 Good Food Festival and was inspired by Zimbabwe’s amazing local fruits, grains, nuts and seeds. Growing up in Harare, Charlie (as her friends call her) didn’t have much exposure to traditional foods and techniques but now she is a traditional food fanatic and even teaches her mother how to prepare local dishes using indigenous ingredients. Charlie spends a lot of time travelling to rural areas, learning about local plants and foods and swapping recipes with communities.
In 2017, Charlie started Hutano Foods, launching a line of breakfast cereals and snacks made from indigenous nuts, fruits and grains. “Working for Hutano is exciting because I get to be part of the whole drive to get nutritious, delicious traditional foods into retail outlets and supermarkets,” Charlie explains. Most of the products are naturally gluten-free as well, which makes them popular with today’s health-conscious customers.
“We aim to promote speciality foods but at a cheaper price than the equivalent imported products. There is a perception that wild-harvested foods should be cheaper than those that are cultivated but their price reflects the fact that the harvesters are getting a fair price for their produce, so that they see real value in keeping their forests intact rather than clearing them for agriculture or fuel wood.”
Find out more about Hutano Foods by visiting their website at www.hutanofoods.com