Ever seen food on a menu and felt like “It must be the sophisticated type”? Well, you’re not alone. I went to a café with a friend and I saw Hibiscus tea on their menu. Though zobo leaves came to my mind at first, I felt I would give it a benefit of doubt while being optimistic and expectant. That in itself is one attitude to exhibit if you want to explore food.

In about five minutes, the waitress arrived at our table with a wooden tray and served us. The tray consisted of; a mug, a small white ceramic with fine scented dark brown honey, a saucer filled with Chinchin, a little black shaped kettle filled with tea, and of course, cutlery enveloped in a snow-white serviette.  

In anticipation, I opened the kettle to smartly observe what had been brought to the table- another skill to perfect if you must be adventurous with food. What I saw was not really a shocker. It was a hot zobo drink in this cute black kettle. Well, I thought to myself, “I’ll keep the joy, drink this happily, return home and ignore counting the cost of buying zobo at over N500”.  Counting the cost of the food compared to how much you could make a dish – a thinking pattern you should part ways with if you are going to enjoy food exploration.

I poured the tea into my mug, added some honey and took the first sip. Well, this is undoubtedly zobo. First, the strong smell that filled the room, now the tart flavoured taste of the drink.  After taking some more sips, I realized something again. It is pure i.e. without any extra flavour enhancer or sweetener. Unlike the ones we make ourselves or buy, there are different flavours infused into the drink to develop its taste. I have even made some that sent me to the toilet severally, after adding a particular fruit flavoured sweetener. 

This unadulterated hot hibiscus tea could be my favourite, I thought. No sweetener cooked with it, flavour enhancer or even ginger; a basic added flavour to almost every zobo drink. Well, if you want to know whether I finished the tea, I almost did. I never knew zobo could be taken as a tea while tasting so great without any added flavour. 

Now, I realize that hibiscus leaves are strong enough to stand alone, capable of making you relax, and ultimately, ensuring that, you get the best flavour – hibiscus itself.

Love,

Ayobambo

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