Ark of taste
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Xigugu is a popular and tasty snack in Tsonga-Shangaan cuisine. It is unique and easy to prepare, especially for special occasions and traditional gatherings. It consists of roasted corn and peanuts mixed with different spices or sweeteners, according to how it will be used. The corn and peanuts used are locally grown varieties. 
Although there is no chocolate in Xigugu, description does give some sense of its luxuriously layered compatible yet contrasting sequence of tastes and textures. The dark, glossy, subtly sweet, salty, smoky, buttery blend of roasted maize and peanuts might also be compared to salted caramel or peanut butter fudge.
To make Xigugu, corn and peanuts are roasted until golden brown and rolled out and crushed together. This is not a difficult step, however it is time consuming. 
The finished mixture can be seasoned with salt or sugar. It can be eaten on its own as a snack between meals, or used to make cakes. It is often made seasonally, following the harvesting and drying of the corn and peanuts, usually occurring between December and February.  
Dry roast the peanuts until golden to chocolate brown. Leave the peanuts to completely cool down (this can even take 24 hours). The following day, grind the peanuts to form peanut powder.
Separately dry roast the maize-meal, also give it hours to completely cool off. Mix all your now cold peanut powder and maize as well as the sugar, in a large bow. Grind them for a very long time in a pestle and mortar or, even better, a traditional wooden crusher. You’ll know it’s ready when it becomes an oily paste. It is now ready to be enjoyed – you can sprinkle a little extra white sugar on top once it is served. (Also differs by the techniques of the person making it).
Traditionally, Xigugu is prepared using dry mealie kernels which are crushed with a wooden pestle and mortar until they are fine and resemble maize meal bought in shops. But, that is too much
labour and it takes a long time; therefore, maize meal is used in the recipe. It can be prepared well in advance and stored in an airtight container or in the fridge for several months.
Older generations have fond memories of Xigugu, though today fewer and fewer people still make this traditional product. Normally it is not usually sold on the market. Because of the long preparation time, the tradition of making Xigugu in the home is being lost among younger generations.
To ensure the Xigugu is available even for the next generation, including it in the Ark of Taste is encouraging small scale farmers under Slow Food network, especially those involved in the 10 000 gardens project, to make Xigugu, and make it available to the local people. Having it in Traditional ceremonies is a way of ensuring that Xigugu remains in the hands of people.

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StateSouth Africa


Production area:Limpopo, Giyani, Malamulele, Bushbuckridge

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Nominated by:Themba Austin Chauke