Just mention the word truffle and you are instantly transported to a world of luxury fine dining and one of the most exquisite tastes on earth. Now, one young South African woman entrepreneur is making it accessible to everyone through her wonderful new range of truffle-based gourmet products under her new label Flavour Union.
This month, LoA had the pleasure of talking truffles and other entrepreneurial things with Amanta and to find out more about her wonderful new venture….
What does your company do?
We are the first to combine Europe’s diamond of foods, the truffle, with the finest of South African and African produce.
"With our love and support for local markets, we are working with the most committed and passionate individuals within their fields to deliver a burst of flavour that shouts “Africa” ...combined with the heritage of the European food-diamond, the truffle."
What inspired you to start your company?
Spending years in Europe working (as hostess, chef and lover of seas) with fresh truffles and gourmet food products, we just had to bring the flavour back home to South Africa.
With our love and support for local markets, we are working with the most committed and passionate individuals within their fields to deliver a burst of flavour that shouts “Africa” ...combined with the heritage of the European food-diamond, the truffle.
What makes your products so unique?
We are the first to introduce the best and finest produce of the two continents, in one beautiful jar. We are committed to delivering the best of service and we believe our customers will enjoy this product as much as we do.
"We have confirmed our conviction that there is a need for a premium, high-end food product in the marketplace, such as our truffle-based gourmet products."
Tell us a little about your team
Marian, my mother, is as passionate about truffles as she is about meeting new people. The combination of both is an inspiring event to experience, every time.
Our team consists of:
The bees from the earth - we thank them every day.
The wild flowers in bloom - we thank them for their beautiful colours.
The Kalahari for supplying us with the best salt.
The Kalahari Community for being part of this process.
Our beautiful Mayonnaise guru, Martin.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
My story starts with launching a lifestyle magazine at age 22, which of course did not play out in quite the way that my young and (naive) mind calculated. I was quite disappointed realizing that you needed serious cash-flow for an adventure like that. By age 23 I started an Advertising agency/studio, with my first client being a blue-chip business. This successful studio turned out to be a truly wonderful experience and bench-marked my success, giving me a real understanding for business going forward. I then met a wonderful man in my thirties and we decided to take a sabbatical which ended up with me being a chef and hostess on super yachts.
The turn of events happened right here. Truffle oh truffle, where art thou truffle? I was in love.
I had the opportunity to work with truffles for some years, experiencing their delicate flavours and harnessing their aromas to their full potential. Upon arriving back in South Africa in December 2014, I started developing the recipes and flavours for my own Flavour Union brand of truffle mayonnaise, truffle salt and our honey.
The process is remarkable due to me being involved with the design of the labels, overall look and feel, the taste of the product and seeing the delightful surprised expressions on customers faces once they taste the product.
We launched our Flavour Union brand of truffle products with great success at the International Hospitality Food Show, as well as the Good Food and Wine Show.
"Never give up. It is always slower than expected in the start-up phase. That's ok. Keep on moving."
- Amanta Hooman, founder @FlavourUnion
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
We would like to grow the business nationally here in South Africa, as well as internationally. We have confirmed our conviction that there is a need for a premium, high end food product in the marketplace, such as our truffle-based gourmet products. We would love to satisfy, everyone, globally, supplying them with just that type of product.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Believing in your products. Seeing them grow. Experiencing the hardships. Meeting the right people. Meeting some of the wrong people. Being excited, challenged, inspired.
All this, for our customers, every day. A purposeful life.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Never give up. It is always slower than expected in the start-up phase. That's ok. Keep on moving.
Contact or follow Flavour Union:
Your Website URL: www.flavourunion.com
Your Facebook Page URL: www.facebook.com/flavourunion
Your Twitter URL: https://twitter.com/FlavourUnion
Why LoA loves it….
At LoA, we love women entrepreneurs across the African continent who are daring to do different things, to launch new products or services, or to introduce new ways of thinking. Amanta Hooman is a woman entrepreneur with a dream of bringing her beloved luxurious truffles within reach of everyone who wants to experience their uniqueness in their own kitchens and cooking. South Africa’s culinary landscape will be all the richer for it. We also love the fact that Amanta and her team believe in giving back to the community, so for every bag of salt sold, a percentage is donated to the Khomani San and Mier communities who own !Xaus Lodge in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Kalahari Desert. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa