Value Africa Hampers: The who, what and why behind our choices

Posted by Daniel Idowu on

As a curator of African products, we are well placed to put an African hamper together. A good hamper tells a story and has a range of complimentary products. So why has there been no Value Africa hamper?

We struggled to put our African hamper together, which was different to others. Also we insist on only selling Made in Africa products on our website. To make this work, for our 2023 hampers we bent our rules. We decided to feature brands which Value Africa. All brands import from Africa, but not all brands manufacture in Africa. Having bent the rules, we have been able to feature brands who are innovating on traditional African products and have a long-term ambition to manufacture on the continent – in line with our vision.

While designing 2023's Christmas Discovery Hamper and Holiday Grazing box set, we curated products based on a theme of discovery. We want you to discover new flavours, new brands, and renew your understanding about products and brands you already know. We have selected innovative products from small artisanal producers alongside larger more established companies.

We’ve listed who the brands are, what their products are and why we have selected them. Most importantly, we outline how they Value Africa.

Buy the 2023 Christmas Hamper and gift box here.

  1. London Manya

Who: Founded by Uche, London Manya is innovation at its finest. Uche is obsessed with beverages from the continent. We’ve shared a few glasses of Banana beer, Ethiopian Tej and Moroccan wine. When I heard he had created a Sparkling Palm Wine, I was intrigued. I tried it and was hooked. To create London Manya, he’s worked with a specialist importer of palm wine and then worked with a winery in Kent to refine it.

What: For 2023’s Value Africa Hamper we have selected London Manya’s Raffia Cuvee. The Raffia Cuvee is made from Ogun State Palm Wine. Using the Champagne method yeast and sugar is to create a dry Brut, with moderate levels of sweetness. What is a hamper without bubbles?

How they Value Africa: London Manya is made in London but by Uche a British, Nigerian. He’s committed to bringing the best of Nigeria to the world, with ambitions to onshore production of London Manya to Nigeria. He believes there is a tremendous opportunity to create a legacy. We agree and are proud to join him on this journey.

  1. Aduna

Who: Aduna was established in 2012 by Andrew Hunt and Nick Salter. Andrew was inspired to focus on his health following an unexpected breakdown, which spiralled into unemployment and clinical depression. His recovery took him to The Gambia where he fell in love with nature and the transformational power of superfoods. Nick has a background in development and a passion for Baobab. They met and gave birth to Aduna.

What: We have selected Aduna’s Baobab and Cacao Teas. The Baobab tea is named Defence and it’s packed with ginger and lemon. The Cacao is spiced with cinnamon – it deserves the title ‘Hug in a mug’. There are fifteen in each pack, so there’s plenty to share over the holiday period. 

How they Value Africa: Not only do the ingredients in their products come from a range of African countries, but they are also packed in Kenya and then exported. They share our vision of supporting African manufacturing. Their tea’s retail at £5, which provides enough money to pay their farmers and staff a fairly with enough profit to reinvest in their business.

  1. Reel Fruit

Who: Founded by Affiong Williams, Reel Fruit is an audacious bet on Nigeria, its farmers and most importantly herself. We’ve written about Affiong and her ten years in business. Reel Fruit is now Nigeria’s largest dried fruit snack company, we are here to support their UK growth.

What: We have selected Reel Fruit classics Unsweetened Coconut Chips and Sweetened Coconut Flakes. We wanted something for the health conscious in our African hamper. The unsweetened coconut chips have a low GI and are high in fibre. We’ve complimented this with their Sweetened Coconut Flakes, which have added cane sugar making them a healthy indulgence.

How they Value Africa: Reel Fruit manufacture in Nigeria and source their ingredients from across the continent, in keeping with Value Africa’s mission. They work closely with their supply chain training them to improve yields and protect their crops working with MasterCard Foundation and USAID.

  1. Huchi Huchi

Who: Founded by Mutsa, Huchi Huchi started as a way for her to connect to Zimbabwe having left London to live there. Huchi' is Shona (an official language of Zimbabwea) for 'Honey' and she called it 'Huchi Huchi' because it felt playful to say it twice.

All Huchi Huchi honey is harvested, unpasturised and packed by hand. Machinery isn't used in its creation. This batch came from Chimanimani which is a town in the Manicaland province in south-eastern Zimbabwe. Manicaland is known locally as 'honey land'. It is dense with flora and botanicals; the bees love it! It's diverse and rich place to harvest honey from.

What: We have selected Huchi Huchi’s Eucalpytups honey. It is mono-floral (single flower honey) sourced from Eucalyptus. It’s has a thick, creamy texture with a gorgeous malty smell. It is 145g, which will give you many teaspoons of delight! It complements our Aduna tea’s and great for building up that immune system in the cold winter months.

How they Value Africa: Mutsa is a small artisanal producer working with local beekeepers in Manicaland, Zimbabwe. Huchi Huchi, is elevating the status of honey - educating people on its benefits, the work the bees put into making it. She’s always quick to remind me that honey is the 3rd most adulterated food in the world. ‘This is liquid gold and deserves respect’ – Mutsa. 

Huchi Huchi Zimbabwean Honey in a jar

  1. Maria Bradford

Who: Maria Bradford is an award-winning chef born and raised in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Her brand Shwen Shwen, draws heavily on her childhood memories. She pours her African heritage and training from Leith’s School of Food and Wine into her supper clubs, dinner parties, corporate catering and weddings. She has complimented this service with a fantastic range of drinks and chilli sauces.

What: For our Christmas Hamper, we’ve selected her Sweet Salone fire, weighing in at 150g. It is a red-hot chilli sauce. It has beautiful heat, but a wonderful depth of vegetal flavour lingers. It was awarded a one star by the Great Taste awards. This in our hamper, because frankly who doesn’t need a bit of warming up over Christmas? 

How they Value Africa: I’ve spent the last few months getting to know Maria. She is passionate about putting Sierra Leone on the map. She launched her fantastic book, Sweet Salone, at Fortnum and Masons. It documents the people, ingredients and recipes of Sierra Leone. She’s a fantastic storyteller and an ambassador for the country. She talked about changing the narrative of Sierra Leone. We are with her on this journey. 

Maria Bradford, Cooking in a giant pot in Sierra Leone

  1. Chika's 

Who: Chika’s is founded by Chika Russell. You may know her from Dragon’s Den? In 2015 she accepted £30,000 from Peter Jones in a bidding war, but they couldn’t close the deal following 6 weeks of negotiation. She has since gone on to build her product range which now includes a range of nuts, rice pops and of course plantain.

What: We selected three of Chika’s lines, the plantain crips, smoked almonds and honey coated peanuts. We think these perfectly capture the Christmas season. They are sweet, warming and plantainy!

How they Value Africa: Chika’s got a commitment to Africa and this year broke ground on a manufacturing site in Nigeria. This was a long-term vision which took 8 years to realise. This serves as an inspiration to African founders abroad, who are looking to onshore their production.

  1. African Originals 

Who: African Originals, are headquartered in Nariobi and founded by Alex Chappette. She has years of experience in the beverage industry working in Ghana for Pernod Ricard. In 2017, she left Ghana and settled in Kenya and began thinking how she would work the local communities to build out a world class company. They have a range of tonics, iced teas, ciders and gins which they sell to over 1800 outlets.

What: We have chosen their ciders for this Christmas hamper as there is so much to discover. The Mango and Chilli and Dawa Honey (with a hint of ginger) are perfect for the colder winter weather. Our Zobo and Lime, is the driest cider so great for those who don’t have a sweet tooth. The Tropical Fruit is perfect for the pineapple and passionfruit fans.

How they Value Africa: They have a commitment to African manufacturing. They have a cidery and distillery in Nairobi where they produce their product. They employ over 100 Kenyans and support hundreds more Africans by purchasing fruit from African farmers. We worked with African Originals in the UK to test the market for their ciders. It was a hit, and we’re getting the next batch from Kenya!

African Originals - Cider and Bucket Hat

  1. FeverTree

Who: Fever Tree was founded in 2003, by Charles and Tim. They are widely regarded as helping to kickstart the premium mixer market. They have since extended their product range to over 30 different products. However, it was the tonic that started it. They source quinine for their tonic from the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is home to some of the highest quality quinine in the world. They also used the tree’s name Cinchona Ledgeriana, (known colloquially as Fever Tree), as inspiration for the brand. 

What: We have selected 6 fever tree products, either because the compliment this year’s spirit choice or because their ingredients are sourced from Africa. The full list is Premium Ginger Beer, Madagascan Cola, Spiced Ginger Ale, Pink Grapefruit Soda, Premium Ginger Ale and White Grape and Apricot Soda. Our holiday favourite is the Spiced Orange Ginger Ale!

How they Value Africa: Fever Tree purchases several African ingredients for their products, sourcing from Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Did you know quinine was widely used to treat malaria? So, it makes sense that they support a charity, Malaria No More, who works to fight Malaria, which is prevalent across the African continent.

  1. Pedro's Premium Ogogoro

Who: Founded by Lola and Chibu, Pedro’s Premium Ògógóró is redefining a previously disrespected Nigerian product. We chose to include the product in this year’s hamper because it fits with our theme of discovery. It is a spirit we keep going back to try and discover the perfect serve. If you discover it, let us know!

What: We have written about Palm Spirit’s before, so check out the article for more detail. To whet your appetite about Pedro’s Premium Ògógóró, we’ll leave you with our tasting notes. The appearance is crystal clear. It has a luxurious mousey and creamy full mouthfeel. It is complimented by strong vanilla, cream soda notes which are deceivingly sweet. The Premium Ògógóró evolves into a herby, coconutty earthy flavour that has a lovely peppery finish.   

How they Value Africa: Pedro’s follow traditional distillation methods when making the product. They work with local distillers who make Ogogoro over open fires, in the bush and grasslands communities across Nigeria. The product undergoes a final distillation in Lagos, before being bottled, labelled and shipped to the UK.

What do you think about our choices? What would you like to see in a future Value Africa hamper? Let us know in the comments.


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