Exactly twenty years ago, Rwanda was plunged into a horrific genocidal war which practically exterminated the Tutsi people. Today its inhabitants are gradually and with difficulty emerging from that trauma, reviving its coffee-growing economy and also its nascent international tourism, which offers visitors the opportunity to discover its unspoiled landscapes and the magnificent animals that dwell in them. It has numerous stunning and famous nature sites: the Akagera Natural Park, rich in hippopotami, antelopes and elephants, the Nguingue forest, famous for its monkeys, Lake Kiwu, with its fine beaches, the National Volcano Park and the nearby Kirunga Mountains, home to the magnificent Mountain Gorillas.
Cookery based on intensely tasty and simple ingredients, many of them protected and promoted as Slow Food Presidiums
Rwanda’s gastronomy – which reflects the Belgian influence from its colonial past above all in its famed fried potato chips – offers intense tastes from simple dishes. The typical ingredients of its cuisine are rice, beans, salad, freshwater sardines, couscous and tubers like sweet potatoes and manioc, both eaten with meat dishes along with ‘umutsima’, made of creamed bananas.
Two banana varieties in particular benefit from the protection of Slow Food, the international association founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986. The first of these is the Musa Acuminata banana, used to make urwagwa
, a typical Rwanda banana beer, while the second is the Kamaramasenge banana, which risks disappearing from Rwanda plantations. Other typical traditional products protected by Slow Food include traditional ikimuri
butter, made from the milk of a local breed of cattle called Inyambo, considered sacred by the people of Rwanda, and ‘rukacarara’, a traditional kind of bread made from sorghum flour with a little cassava flour mixed in.
Nestled in the Coffee Cluster, Rwanda presents itself to the community of nations
Rwanda is present in Expo Milano 2015 in the Coffee Cluster
, where it shows visitors its healthy natural food products, particularly its coffees, ecologically cultivated with the help of modern technology. Economically, coffee is its prime resource, given the perfect cultivation conditions of its high mountains, covered by volcanic soil and basking in equatorial sunshine. Inside its Pavilion, various highly colorful handcraft items are displayed, including fabrics, bags, baskets and typically African decorative jewellery. Many fascinating food products are also displayed, although most of them – except for the top quality mountain coffee varieties – are not for sale.