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Stone, dubbed the “Willy Wonka of nuts”, was a gold winner in the 2018 FoodTalk Awards, for her bari bari barus, seeds grown in pods in Brazil’s vast tropical savanna. Bari Bari is a loud crunchy sound in Japanese and the baru nuts, which are technically seeds, have a very loud crunch.
They are prepared by being coated with a signature soya glaze and sprinkled with a cumin, coriander, lime and chilli spice mix. No wonder the product ticked the judges’ criteria at the 2018 awards of a “food product that uses unusual ingredients and combinations.”
Stone, the sole importer of these barus to the UK, looks back at winning the award last year as it was a lifetime ago.
“Since winning the award last year a lot has changed with the company. For one thing, I had to find a new supplier as the product was so niche. My new supplier is a Brazilian who works with a co-op in the Brazilian savanna, the local people collect the thick pods from the ground. I actually came across him on Instagram, it is a great outcome for me.”
Stone is also building up her unique product’s reputation among athletes, including young MMA boxers. Burus are high protein and high fibre and offer great nutritional qualities such as being rich in potassium and zinc.
With the principle of Kodawari always in mind, Stone is also working on the next level of innovation, making a flour from the barus.
She says: “I am at the early stages of making the flour, I have been experimenting with vegan cookies, brownies and pizza dough, the flour is grain and nut free, as baru is classed as a seed, a flour would have great potential.”
Stone is also testing baru butter recipes, still working from her own kitchen at her home in Kings Cross, London.
She sells her products mainly online, alongside baru nuts, glazed cashews and almonds are available, flavoured with exotic blends such as sake, kombu, amchur and smoked red jalapeno.
A year on from winning her FoodTalk gold award, Hiromi Stone continues mixing up her sophisticated flavour combinations as part of her ongoing quest for ever greater heights of perfection.
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