In my office, when someone returns from holiday in, say, America, they bring back a great big bag of Hershey’s chocolate to share with everyone. If they travel to Australia, they know not to return without Tim-Tams. There are certain brands that go hand-in-hand with their countries of origin, like Guinness and Ireland.
There are a number of brands that Zimbabweans love, and Zimbos living abroad will always ask their relatives to bring over a bag (or five).
Here are some iconic Zimbabwean branded food products
Mazoe Orange Crush
Traditionally made from Oranges grown in the Mazowe valley in Mashonaland, this cordial has been a part of Zimbabwean schoolchildren’s lunches for generations.
Corn snacks with a spicy, garlicky flavour and in an ‘O’ shape.
Other delicious corn snacks include Jupiters, Korn Kurls and Chicken Flings.
A stalwart friend at those ten-o-clock breaks, Tanganda Tea is said to have started in 1924 when a tea-planter’s wife from Assam smuggled a box of seeds and planted them in Chipinge, in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe.
Producing flavours such as Nutty Squirrel, Super Split, Monsta Mouse, Green Giant, Bigga Bear and Monsta Mouse. Every Zimbabwean child’s favourite sound was the bell of the ice-cream man’s bicycle as he pushed his wares around the neighbourhood.
Red Seal Mealie-meal
Sadza, or cooked maize/corn meal, is the staple food of Zimbabwe and Red Seal is a favourite brand. Their ‘Pearlenta’ maize meal is the super refined version (and similar sounding to the Italian counterpart, ‘polenta’).
Sweet, smooth, mixed fruit jam. Best enjoyed on a thick slice of white bread, still warm from being cooked in the supermarket’s oven.
Zimbabwe’s own premium export quality beer with a crisp caramel flavour.
Other Zimbabwean brews include Carling Black Label: A sweet, strong lager; Castle lager: Full-bodied, dry beer, the World’s 12th largest beer brand, according to its manufacturer, and a mainstay on the Zimbabwean beer list; Zambezi lager: A bitter, rich beer, tagged ‘Zimbabwe’s own lager’, named after Zambezi River which borders Zimbabwe and its neighbours to the north; and Chibuku: Brewed commercially since 1962, this traditional sorghum beer is brewed with maize and sorghum locally grown in Zimbabwe. Thick, frothy and constantly fermenting … you’ve been warned!
Thick fruity cordial syrup which is vitamin-enriched and tastes like pure nectar.
A soap that can be used on anything, excellent at removing stains from clothes and skin! It has one of the most played adverts on Zimbabwe television.
What are your favourite Zimbabwe food brands?
Look out for a post about typical Zimbabwean food (non-branded) soon, where we talk biltong and monkey nuts!