Categories
General

#EndSARS NIGERIA: JOIN THE MOVEMENT!




SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad): The Special Anti-Robbery Squad was a Nigerian Police Force unit created in late 1992 to deal with crimes associated with robbery, motor vehicle theft, kidnapping, cattle rustling, and firearms [Wikipedia]

#EndSARS#NIGERIA#SARSMustEnd#EndPoliceBrutality

We at NCN have watched the youth of Nigeria mobilize over the last couple weeks with pride, and are appalled by the brutal massacre of peaceful protesters earlier today at the Lekki Tollgate. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their loved ones.

Nigerian-security-forces-use-live-fire-to-disperse-protesters

For more information on the movement and how you can support, please check out the links below:

TOP CURRENT STORIES

SARS Victims

SARS Founder Feels Guilty

Police Open Fire At Lagos Toll Gate

Millions Placed Under Curfew

Support SARS

Amnesty International

THE CONTROVERSY

BBC YouTube

Guardian Nigeria

Amnesty International

AmnestyNigeria

HOW TO SUPPORT

Below are two organizations within Nigeria identified that has their primary cause outlined as ‘Justice’ for all:

CLEEN FOUNDATION NIGERIA

Feminist Coalition 2020

 #EndSARS

GoFundMe pages raising funds to support SARS Nigeria

The information provided on this page for the diaspora community is a short list of the multiple available information on the current ongoing crisis surrounding Freedom, Justice and Equality in Nigeria. NCN has no affiliation with any of the organizations and all disclaimers apply.

PRAY. SPEAK OUT. ACT FOR JUSTICE

Categories
General

A Year in Review

Another year is wrapping up for NCN, and upon reflection it has been so heartwarming to see how we have grown as a community. 

This year, we focused primarily on celebrating entrepreneurs within the organization by encouraging a sharing platform for them to highlight their businesses or venture activities during our quarterly social network event,  as well as on our WhatsApp platform and website. In addition, we held a series of informational seminars that ranged from financial literacy to estate planning, which included engaging and working with subject matter experts in the community. We were fortunate to have representatives from Sereno group, Citibank, Northwestern Mutual and Business, Energy, and Election Law, PC (BEELaw Firm) donate their time and provide information to the organization body. These seminars have been great value added to what NCN is about and with tangible benefits to its members.

We have also had some lessons learned along the way on how to better operate as a diaspora community organization; these are expected growing pains that has further helped make NCN to be more positively impactful to its member community.

However, the most significant path forward this year has been the intangible benefits that has ‘community’ spirit at its core. This is evident in how new members are embraced into a welcoming community away from home, members supported by applauds and accolades for professional and personal achievements, members having at least someone within the community to lean on for support, etcetera. In essence, the most significant growth for the organization has been the continued manifestation of our motto “United together we thrive, achieve, grow and flourish as a community”.

So with that said, we are excited about 2020,and we are hoping it will be another great year of growth for the organization!. We will continue to grow our value-added proposition to the membership body as well as foster and nurture the community spirit that is so integral to who we are as NCN. In the new year, we will continue our efforts to expand our website content, increase our footprint on multiple social media platforms to showcase and highlight topics, businesses, causes and opportunities that are relevant and important to the organization with local and global reach potentials.

In that vein, 2020 starts with “Conversations on Educational Systems in Africa”! NCN is excited to have a professional with over a decade of experience with international NGOs provide a webinar for our members to discuss international education projects including early grade reading projects, UNICEF-funded Reading and Numeracy Activity in Northwest Nigeria, as well as the USAID- funded Addressing Education in Northeast Nigeria (AENN) project.  This is an especially poignant way to start 2020, as education is a major passion for Nigerians and naturally important for NCN members. With many more programs in the works and also future social networking gathering [our famed Potlucks] planned for 2020, we hope it will be another great year to be part of the NCN community.  

Personally, I am looking forward to a great year ahead in 2020 for the organization!

Thank you for a wonderful 2019. Wishing you a fantastic 2020, NCN!

Best,

Mary Dosunmu

Categories
Education General Technology

AI for You, AI for Nigeria

Drs. Wura and Sam Ade Jacobs

You’ve heard the buzzwords: AI, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), Digital Twins, Personalized Medicine. Yes, these buzzwords and what they stand for is in our future but what exactly does that mean for you and most importantly how do you prepare for what is coming? Think back to the 90s, at the inception of the internet boom. There were a lot of hypes and yes there was a dot com boom (and an eventual crash). At that time in Nigeria, cybercafes in university towns and campuses sporadically sprung up. Hotels offered Wifi and color TV as premium services.  In our lifetime, we have seen Netflix replace Blockbuster, Amazon has displaced a number of retail stores (remember Toys R Us?), Apple surpassed Exxon Mobil in value. The reality is that understanding current trends and making predictions is crucial to success in the upcoming AI-driven digital economy- the Future.

How did we get here?

Before predicting the future, we should ask ourselves how did we get here? It is generally believed in the tech community that current and future success of AI rests on a tripod; growing datasets, increased computation power, and more sophisticated machine learning models. This decade has seen exponential growth in the volume and rate at which data are generated, captured and analyzed. Data volume are currently dominated by social media posts, views and interactions, e-commerce transactions, and web searches. In a 60 second window (the time it takes Usain Bolt to run 745 meters, or for you to blink 12 times), 188 million emails are sent, 4.5 million YouTube videos are viewed, and $996,956 is spent on online transactions, just in a twinkling of an eye! We have also seen remarkable growth in computing power that defies the popular Moore’s law, so much more that what was considered a supercomputer in the 70s is no more than a chip that will fit in your “wallet” today. Data availability combined with enormous computing power has enabled quick prototyping and discovery of new machine learning models that could learn and make predictions from historical databases and data stream at an unprecedented scale.

AI for you

On an individual basis, let’s remember that we can not stop this train in its tracks. As it’s been said, we did not leave the stone age because we ran out of stones, rather because we found better technology. AI is not a thing to fear, but rather another technology to embrace. The real question to ask then will be what would this mean for my business and professional career? While we cannot generically answer this question, we briefly highlight two application areas: healthcare and real estate or home improvement. These two areas are by no means representative of all that is possible nor will we be able to discuss all that is possible even in these two broad areas.

Healthcare of the future, driven by AI, will be personal.  The world is at the cusp of a revolution in health care. There have been extensive research into personal genomes and precision oncology.  On one hand, the perpetual debate around the high cost of healthcare (in the US) will be addressed in part with AI-driven technology. The US public and private sectors and other institutions around the world are heavily investing in unprecedented data-driven approach to transform the way drugs are designed and manufactured. On the other hand, developing countries are beginning to leverage on “virtual doctors” made possible by AI, mobile devices, robotics and automation to address shortage of healthcare workers. 

Real estate and home improvement businesses will also benefit from the upcoming AI (r)evolution. Home assistant and home security will become more prevalent. Your current or future home can be retrofitted at an amazingly cheap price such that mundane task of gathering your family for dinner, or remotely monitor your home while on vacation could be done through AI-driven home assistants. You could even deploy a “drone” from the comfort of your home in Palo Alto to monitor your dream home construction in Nigeria. As a real estate professional, builder, or home designer, knowing and leveraging these cutting-edge technologies will be a product differentiation and unique selling proposition that would provide a competitive advantage  for your business.

AI for Nigeria

The last question here is what about us as a Nigerian community at home or in Diaspora? For U.S.-based professionals of Nigerian descent, we are all privileged to be at the center of it all but it is worth noting that we could go further collectively. We can do more! Let’s start with a rhetorical question. Why is Ethiopia and a few other African countries, unfortunately excluding Nigeria, are becoming the center of attraction for AI research and development? In case you don’t know, Ethiopia was recently named as the host of the famed International Conference on Learning Representation (ICLR) and Google recently established an AI research center in Accra, Ghana.

A simple answer to this question lie in historical context. Ethiopia’s investment in education, a prerequisite for technological r(evolution), dates back to the time of Emperor Haile Selassie. The Emperor was an astute leader and a shrewd diplomat. He built bridges, a university and an airline to connect Ethiopia to the world. Seeds of quality education sown decades ago reflects in today’s Silicon Valley-based young and vibrant Ethiopians (or of Ethiopia descent) who will lead the world into the next phase of tech revolution be it self driving and electric cars, digital twins, blockchain, personalized medicine, renewable energy and more. Nigeria on the other hand has paid little attention to quality education for decades. We’ve missed out as a country on previous industrial revolution; yesterday was the time to do the right thing. AI-driven revolution presents us another opportunity. In that light, we as professionals of Nigeria descent should make an effort to influence Nigerian government policies as it relates to technology if given the opportunity. If it is in your power to do anything in Nigeria, we will advocate a change in the education landscape; formal and informal technology-driven curriculum. We all in our various capacities and area of influence should advocate for a more inclusive technology-driven education that cuts across gender and tribal barriers. Collaboration among ourselves is also crucial, as our (NCN) theme aptly states, “together as a community we thrive, grow and succeed.” 

Some have called AI the “new oil” or “new electricity”. While the tag may be debatable there is no question as to whether AI will impact future business and personal interactions. It has, it will, and it has only just begun!

About Authors

Wura and Sam earned their PhDs in health behavior and computer science respectively from Texas A&M University. Wura is a professor of public health at California State University where she conducts research on social networks and health behavior. Sam is a computer scientist with expertise in big data analytics and large-scale machine learning technologies.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of their employers

Categories
Food & Wine General

A Pie Journey

I started my journey without any idea of how it would morph over time. I learned and started cooking at the age of 12 in Nigeria prior to my family and I migrating to the USA.  The honest truth is, I never thought I would be into cooking since I was very much into fashion, I sewed and knitted a lot, and my dad supported my business ventures even though at the time I was not charging for the services rendered to people.  When I moved to America, the plan was that my mom would buy me a sewing machine, so I could continue to perfect my sewing skills and make beautiful embroideries. I never got my sewing machine, so the dream died.

Igniting a forgotten passion by the wayside…

What next, since I considered myself a good cook (and others agreed) I started spending a lot of my spare time cooking and also taught myself how to bake.  This was the birth of my catering business. Not only was I now cooking for family, I was also catering events throughout my teens.  Fast forward to adulthood, a little over 3 yrs. ago, I decided to put myself out there as a budding business to friends and others.

The grit

Catering business like any other business requires passion, but growing the business takes a lot more than passion.  It requires determination and sacrifice.  A business is a labor of love; it’s like raising a child, you have to do the job regardless of whether or not you want to.  Personally, I don’t subscribe to bandwagon followers’ approach.  Just because everyone is doing something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for you.  The food business is labor intensive.  If anything, I have gained a new-found respect for restaurateurs, chefs, food truck businesses and any sort of food business.

The growth

Being a passionate foodie also means making a great product that will keep customers coming back.  Food is an experience and it is part of enjoying life.  I care about the work I do for people and making sure my food is tasty plus happy customers is important.  If you do good work, you never have to force your product on people, customers will reach out organically. With that, I started building and maintaining my clientele.

            You do have to promote yourself, so people know you are in business.  For me, although I knew a lot of people, nobody knew I cooked until I started catering friends’ events, people tasted my food and reached out to me to cater for them.  Also, as a serious social media fanatic, I actively post my work on different social media outlets and engaged a lot with my social media (@TreatsbySade) followers/ audience. Marketing vigorously and well is important. Finally, gaining and keeping that credibility helps with referrals.

Continuing the long journey

You have proven you are passionate about starting a food business and can cook well. What next?  Now you have to decide your pricing margin.  Pricing is difficult because you want to be fair and also make sure you are profiting, if not why would you keep slaving in the kitchen after a full day at work???  Having a business model that works for you makes pricing easier.  When I first started, I took whatever deal came my way. This is meant accepting catering orders that ranged from small vs. large scale, meal preps, random one-off small cook this or that requests, or whatever.   But once I decided to focus and tailor my business to an area, I eliminated many stressors i.e.  I preferred catering small scale events with a maximum number of 50-60 people to manage my time and resources especially with full time employment.   So, I capped the number of people I would cook for based on the pot sizes I owned.  I started shopping in bulk to keep cost low and, obtained and segmented pan sizes to match price point for different items.  I decided that I preferred that customers ordered at a certain minimum $ amount so that it would be worth the effort of running around and the hours spent in the kitchen [being mindful of labor]- the cost effective ratio.  My small scale business has narrowed even further to catering a single food item with options of different flavors / fillings.

Today, I am happy where I am with my business as well as with how much I have grown in the process.  In spite of my smallish business engine, I try to practice and maintain good business ethics.  This included being fiscally disciplined such that from day one, I always and still track all my sales and expenses, which helped to determine pricing.  Now that the business is grown and profitable, I invested the earnings back into it. What this looked like for me was investing in small grade professional kitchen equipment that improved and streamlined the cooking process, I registered my business, and separated my business from personal $$ and started filing business taxes.

My learned Tips:

  • In my line of business, customer is King: so, I always endeavor to provide good customer service
  • Don’t compromise on a fair price valuation; your friends are not entitled to special discounts otherwise it slowly stops being a viable business model in time.
  • Business is business, you can’t please everyone but have the right attitude and ethics.
  • Understand cooking for a few people is different from cooking for a lot of people; the market or target customer is integral “the Who
  • Continue to hone your culinary skills; a business must grow and strive for excellence
  • Support system is key; I was lucky to have a business mentor as soon as I started, plus friends/customers that constantly encouraged me.
  • Take your business seriously; otherwise it is just a fad that dwindles or fade away

Yours,

SadePies

Contact: TreatsBySade@gmail.com

Instagram: @TreatsbySade

Categories
Blog Education

Engineering a Pathway to Business: My Career Transition Journey

The first time I heard about Biotechnology was when I was 14 years old. I was in my high school Biology class when my teacher explained how groundbreaking it was, engineering biological processes to effectively address real societal issues, such as hunger and health care.

I went on to write emphatically in all my college application essays that my desire was to study Chemical Engineering because of my interest in Biotechnology. Little did I know that some years later, after receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, I would go on to work for the first ever Biotechnology company, a pharmaceutical company in South San Francisco.

Since I was passionate about science and its applications, I was also pretty sure that I would have a long fulfilling career in engineering, manufacturing lifesaving therapeutics for those that needed them the most. So, imagine my surprise when after 10 years of work as an engineer, with a coveted senior engineer promotion just a month away, I was deeply wresting with accepting a job offer in Drug Pricing of all things!

I had just completed my Master’s in Engineering the previous year, but somehow that journey coupled with soul searching, career counseling, rotations, and networking, was leading to something completely new and exciting: I wouldn’t be making drugs anymore, I would be joining the part of the business that sold them.

Don’t get me wrong, the job offer didn’t just fall into my lap. Nine months earlier after a colleague I met at a networking event put in a good word for me in his team, I was asked to do a rotation in the Pricing, Contracting and Distribution group while the senior strategy manager in that role went on maternity leave. What was meant to be a 5-month stint turned into 6, then 7 months, all the while working my engineering job. And I LOVED every second of it. I loved working more closely with customers, account managers, Brand and sales teams, and taking a nebulous complex problem and coming up with a strategy to execute and quickly seeing the results of it.

When I started the rotation, I looked for ways I could quickly stand out and make an impact with the skills I had built in team leadership, project management and analytical thinking, while I worked behind the scenes with my manager and mentors addressing my learning curve in business principles and market access strategy. I also took real accountability during the rotation and attended every team meeting, off-site, business unit meeting, you name it. I said yes to even the most tedious of challenges and attempted to go over and above for that reputation-building season. It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time, and my efforts weren’t in vain. A month after ending the rotation, a group manager invited me to interview for a significant role in her Oncology strategy team, and I was both terrified and thrilled. Ultimately, after my promotion to senior engineer, I decided to begin a brand-new career braving the business world.

I discovered many things after I made that leap. Though I had made a lateral career move, in many ways I was starting from scratch, learning new terminology and skills, and still putting in double work to keep up with the pace of significant responsibility. It didn’t take long for it to occur to me that what I was pulling off was kind of a big deal. The first indication was that I suddenly became the poster child for career change, especially for those in my company who already had several years of experience in a particular area under their belt like I did. Every other week I was having coffee chats giving tips based on my journey and letting aspiring career changers know that it’s okay to love one path for a season and to discover you love a different one in the next.

I myself was mentally adjusting to the reality that my identity was no longer going to be a rare black woman in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), something I didn’t realize had become a part of me. But the more I embraced whatever this change was going to lead to, I understood that what I had known from back when I was a teenager was that I had a calling to Biotechnology and the health care arena. And that calling would still stand regardless of whatever job I worked in. I understood that you can contribute to a specific sphere from all sorts of angles that you haven’t even imagined, if you don’t limit yourself and simply think about how you want to impact the world.

I like what Oprah Winfrey said in her talk to Stanford University’s business school students in 2014: “Everything I have, I let it be fueled by who I am and what I realize my contributions to the planet could be. And my real contribution…it looks like I was a talk show host, it looks like I am in the movies, it looks like I have a network. But my real contribution, the reason why I am here, is to help connect people to themselves…and in the beginning I didn’t realize that”.

Stepping out of my comfort zone has been so rewarding. Not only because of its effect on my career trajectory, but because I have become much more willing to take risks. I have discovered other streams of income, newly registered a business, and recently even started yet another role in a different company, now in management consulting but still Life Sciences focused. I realize it is never too late to bring your perspective and wealth of experience into a brand-new arena, and there is no such thing as starting too late because everything you did before now was critical to your journey.

I encourage you, if your interest is drawing you to different areas, to look for creative ways to answer the call for expansion. You never know what you can create by doing so. As you think about the different career transitions you have already made in life, may still make, and what it could mean to you, I will leave you with a 2005 quote from the late Steve Jobs who spoke about the college calligraphy class that greatly impacted his unique spin on Apple computers.

“If I had never dropped out [of college], I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.”

Ugochi Umelo was born and raised as a third culture kid: a native of Imo State, Nigeria, born in Italy and bred in 6 different countries. Her upbringing shaped her into a very curious individual with diverse interests. Some of these include writing anything from poetry to haircare tips, dusting off her piano, taking the occasional voice lesson, buying interesting spices from new travel destinations, and becoming a serial investor.

On a professional note, Ugochi is a life sciences professional specializing in pharmaceutical market access and customer experience. She is driven by a passion for access to therapies that will improve quality of life for those most in need. After spending over 10 years working as a process and project engineer, in 2016 she made the transition to learning the business of pharmaceuticals. Ugochi received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, and her Master’s degree in Engineering Management and Leadership. She is currently working as a life sciences management consultant focused on customer insights and growth. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and can be reached at ugochi.umelo@gmail.com or www.linkedin.com/in/ugochiumelo.

Categories
Education Health

Your Health Numbers (The Basic Gist)

Know Your Numbers, Girl!

Numbers are the best way we know for keeping scores. Love it or hate it, you are defined by numbers. You are “documented” here in the  United States by that random string of 9 digits. Not having a social security number means you are “undocumented”.

Your credit score determines the interest rate you are charged on your auto loan or mortgage. It gets worse; all sorts of entities would gladly define you by the number of zeros on your bank account statement.

So it stands to reason that your health would be defined by numbers too.

The 5 health numbers you should care about are:

  1. Your weight: Without taking your height into consideration, you absolutely do not want to be outside the margins of 100-200 pounds. Your risk for premature death from medical issues increase outside of that range.
  2. Your body mass index (BMI): This is the ratio of your weight to your height. There are free calculators online that you can plug in your weight and height into to arrive at your BMI.  The taller you are, the more weight your body can accommodate. You want this number less than 30 for sure. BMI 18-24.9 is healthy, BMI 25-29 is overweight and BMI over 30 is obese.
  3. Your blood pressure: Elevated blood pressure on a sustained basis can cause strokes, loss of vision, heart failure and kidney failure. It really is the “silent killer” especially those of us of Nigerian descent. You want your top number below 140 and the lower number below 90 at the very least to prevent organ damage. Your ideal goal is less than 130/80.
  4. Your blood glucose level: You want your fasting blood glucose level to be less than 100. Fasting blood glucose level of 126 or more on two separate occasions means you have diabetes. Your best for preventing diabetes (or keeping it controlled, if already diagnosed) is maintaining a health weight.
  5. Your cholesterol level: High cholesterol increases the risk for heart disease. Heart disease happens to be the number one cause of death of both men and women here in the United States. Below are the parameters for cholesterol.

 

 

Total cholesterol should be less than 200

LDL (Bad cholesterol) should be less than 100

HDL (Good cholesterol) should be over 40

Triglycerides should be less than 150

There you have it.

 

Dr. Bola [Wife and mom]
Board certified family physician
Health and Wealth Enthusiast
Can be reached at bola@healthgist.com

Dr. Bola Oyeyipo-Ajumobi

resides in Southern California with her husband and two boys. She is a family physician at Kaiser Permanente in Palm Springs with over 15 years of medical experience so it is fair to say she knows a thing or two about Medicine .

Dr. Bola is passionate about the individual patient advancing their journey to better health, whatever that means for them in medical terms. In addition to her busy work and family,  she partnered with a colleague to create an A-Z educational, interactive and engaging online platform called Healthgist that offers the busy woman a place beyond the regular in-office appointment to reach out, learn and gain more understanding of how to care about their health. Hers is such a great informational platform that it has been featured in multiple local news/ network media as a reputable and must visit website.

Her other interests as any Nigerian is business and digital media (e.g. healthgist), and she  manages to squeeze in time for family and some fun! She is a published medic with a strong following on healthgist and LinkedIn.

Her online bio and presence

www.healthgist.com

Mommy MD Guide

LinkedIn Profile

Her contribution to this platform is greatly appreciated.

Categories
Education Emergency

4 Person Earthquake Emergency Kit

This is a follow up to the email sent a few weeks ago with starter information for you to set up your home, and of course check the local government guidance.

Below is a basic starting point for earthquake emergency preparedness that I have in my backpack, you may add more or  adapt as necessary or you see fit.

Storage of bag:

I have kept my bag in a coat closet close to exit door ( our garage gets hot in summer and cold in winter; the heat may not be ideal for the liquids)

Backpack Contents: for 4 person

  • A daily minimum caloric value of emergency food bar ( 5 yr life span)
  • Emergency water pouches 4-5 oz
  • Radio & Cell phone charger
  • Small army style knife
  • Emergency ponchos with hoods
  • Survival whistle or just whistle
  • Dust Masks
  • Tissue packs
  • 24 hour body warmers ( the pouches or simple blanket will suffice)
  • First Aid kit ( be sure to replace wipes, alcohol , or solutions that have lifespan)
  • Water Purification tablets
  • Waterproof matches
  • Signal mirror
  • Water bottle
  • Fire start sticks
Government Website on Preparedness

Click on this link to get information on disaster and emergencies preparedness



		
Categories
Blog Food & Wine

A Quick Guide to Wine Pairing with Nigerian Staple Dishes

Wine is becoming an important part of the Nigerian (generally Africans) palate in addition to beer, *hot* aka spirits and malt drinks etc.

This article will give some basics on wine pairing with Nigerian staples using some simple  examples, also note the wines shown here are for reference and does not serve as an endorsement of any brand/price point .

A summary of pairing is at the end of the article. Takeaway: Wine isn’t just paired based on the type of food but how the food is made (steamed, fried etc)  and its ingredients/spices.

So let’s start shall we,

Imagine a dish like ewa agoyin (beans)  or rich and spicy food in the same family type, you might consider pairing with a GSM (Grenache,  Syrah, and Mourvedre French grapes from the Rhone Valley region) red blend wine. This is because it is a full bodied red wine with flavors of dark fruits and spice. The Grenache provides spices, red fruit and alcohol to the blend, Syrah adds structure and dark fruits, while Mourvedre gives the tannins, color and length. Note– The letter ordering let’s you know which is the prominent grape e.g. MSG means higher Mourvedre content .

The sweetness in the ewa complements the fruity nature of the wine while the spicy ata works well with the spicy notes of the wine.  An expensive example of  a GSM wine is Chateauneuf-Du-Pape.

By the way, GSM is also a good wine for that beef chili that we all enjoy so much in the winter, especially if made with habanero pepper.

Now for every effervescent Nigerian, Jollof rice and efo riro are like water; typically made with a variety of spices and heat (habanero). You may go with a Zinfandel, a Californian staple, genetically synonymous to an Italian Primitivo. Zinfandel is a full body wine with fruity and spicy characters, a robust wine which makes it an easy choice to pair with both dishes. The heat and spices in these dishes such as bay leaves, thyme, garlic, and ginger enhances the pairing.  

Our next stop is Riesling, it is a good entry into the world of wine for most people. Despite its snobbery, Riesling has an impressive varietal. It is indigenous to Germany but now grown in different parts of the world including Australia, Washington State, and New York. It can be cultivated in minimal sunlight, making it a very acidic wine with intense aroma and flavor. Due to its high acidity, Riesling can be made into both dry wine and very sweet wine; it is one of the few white varietals that has the ability to age in bottle and also have a longer life span once opened.  If you want wine with low alcohol content, Riesling is perfect as it is typically in the 7-8% range whereas most wines are in 12-15% range. Rieslings also have a strong aroma; an interesting way to identify it without the bottle label is through its unique “Petrol” scent that tickles your nuzzle 😁.

Now for that gizzard and plantain dish, Riesling is a robust wine of choice. A medium body Riesling has more residual sugar which pairs well with the sweetness of the plantain and doesn’t take away from the gizzard. Riesling is a wine you can pair with a variety of food because of its intense flavor profile. For those who do not like red wine, Riesling or Gewurztraminer are great choices.

Also, Riesling is great with many Asian dishes from Sushi to Thai curry, in reality it is a great pairing for many dishes. Remember for every wine pairing each palette is different and it’s important to find what works for you. Washington, New York, and Australian origin are popular Riesling blends sold in the US. Australian Riesling has more residual sugar than the others, giving it a bit more body. So when you want a quick pairing choice, grab a Riesling and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Where is the Naija party without “fried fish” ???, lets pair with a Sauvignon Blanc.

Sauvignon blanc is probably the second most popular white wine in the US, second to Chardonnay.  It has its origin from Bordeaux and Loire Valley in France where it is the largest part of most Bordeaux white wine blends. This wine thrives in cooler climates such as the Bordeaux and Loire Valley regions in France, New Zealand , South Africa, Chile, and Napa California.  Sauvignon blanc is known to be a refreshingly dry wine with strong aroma and minerality (meaning aroma of herbs and grass); It is a great pairing with food such as white meat and dishes with herbs such as rosemary, basil, cilantro, etc and we have those in Nigerian dishes.

Sauvignon Blanc, also known as Sancerre and Fumé Blanc. The term Sancerre is mostly used in France in the Bordeaux and Loire Valley region; while Fumé Blanc is supposed to represent dry Sauvignon Blanc wines aged in oak barrel, an uncommon practice for regular Sauvignon Blanc wines. With migration of the French people, Sauvignon Blanc grapes also emigrated to New Zealand where it is used in 100% varietals instead of blends. Cultivation of this wine in New Zealand resulted in fruit forward flavor profile that finally put it on the map. Many people swear by the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc as being the best; however, it is up to you to explore and make that decision.

There you have it,  a basic intro of how to pick a good wine accompaniment for that Naija staple dish😁.

Nigerian dishes have pairing potential that is fun for the explorer.

Happy Exploring!!!!

Contribution from Sade and Mary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any questions, please complete the form below or leave a simple comment.

Categories
Greetings

2018

Categories
Greetings

Christmas 2017