With opening day out of the way, it feels great to be up and running, no longer a sweet dream but a bricks-and-mortar reality on the streets of Butare, Rwanda. While here on the blog we’ve been tapping away on such subjects as English lessons, shop construction and the daily mishaps of launching such a strange and wonderful project, maybe it’s time to take a moment to explain just what goes on in Inzozi Nziza itself.
We make our ice cream fresh in the shop from Rwandan ingredients. Flavours thus far have included maracouja (passion fruit), pineapple, strawberry and plain (but delicious) sweet cream. We’re still enjoying experimenting with more combinations, and we’ve got our eyes on several new flavours: honey from nearby Nyungwe National Park is particularly delicious, Rwandan coffee is rapidly making a reputation for itself worldwide, tree tomatoes have a wonderfully tart, tangy flavour, and mangoes, though they aren’t currently in season in Rwanda, should be a favourite with the locals’ sweet tooths. All our ice creams are sold in three flavours – teta (literally meaning ‘come to my arms’, but used as an affectionate diminutive for ‘child’), nshuti (friend, or peer) and cyubariho (elder). Because teta ice creams cost just 400 Rwandan francs (around 65 cents), locals and students can be as much a part of the Inzozi Nziza experience as any tourist or expat.
To accompany our ice creams we offer a number of toppings, including the delicious (and increasingly famous) granola made by local chef Celestine. We love the fact that individuals from Butare, and in particular from our women’s association, can benefit from Inzozi Nziza – we buy eggs from Stephanie, fruit from Epiphanie, sambusas from Leontine – and we hope that, in time, more of our women will launch initiatives to produce the raw materials that we need on a daily basis.
Of course, we don’t just sell ice cream, and as well as Rwandan coffee and fruit juice, we’ve also launched a few innovations, including banana bread and carrot cake, which went down a treat on our opening weekend, and even bagels made by Ivan in Kigali. Cream cheese is still proving hard to come by but hey – everything has to start somewhere.