Cherry Cacao Granola: A lovely local collaboration!

A not-too-sweet treat featuring Askinosie cacao nibs, Michigan cherries and locally-grown teff

Light. Airy. Not too sweet. That’s how Rodger, head chef and managing partner of Zingerman’s Delicatessen, described Teffola, a Michigan-made granola that features teff, a high-protein Ethiopian ancient grain, grown right here in Michigan. 

Zingerman’s first encountered this locally-grown ancient grain when Claire Smith, maker of handmade granola with teff (Teffola) – an ancient grain harvested on her family’s 7th generation farm in Addison, Michigan – approached the Deli with an idea: to collaborate on a granola product that features her family’s teff. 

Deli Chef and Managing Partner Rodger Bowser, mastermind behind our G’s Granola, worked with Claire to come up with this light-yet-flavor-packed, locally-sourced granola.

photo courtesy of Teffola

Wait… what exactly is teff?

We are so glad you asked! Teff is a tiny grain used to make Ethiopian injera, a fermented flatbread, and is well-known for its nutritional quality. According to Ethnomed, teff contains 11 percent protein, 80 percent complex carbohydrate and 3 percent fat and is an excellent source of essential amino acids, especially lysine, the amino acid most often deficient in grain foods. Teff is gluten-free, and is gaining popularity in the whole food and health food industry as an alternative grain for people with gluten sensitivity. Cherry Cacao Granola is made in a dedicated gluten-free facility.

Ok, so how did it wind up in Michigan? 

Claire’s family saw the farming landscape was rapidly changing, so they followed suit and replaced traditional cash crops with 33 acres of ivory and brown teff as an experiment to see if it would grow. And grow it did! Next, they were faced with the overwhelming challenge of harvesting it.

“Teff is smaller than a poppyseed and is in the grass family meaning it has to be cut, dried and then harvested. Originally our goal was to mill teff into a flour and sell to Ethiopian restaurants for their traditional injera bread. We even got our flour onto Amazon but the traction and buzz just wasn’t there. One day, we put the whole teff grain into granola and loved the flavor; we called it Teffola,” Claire said.

Zingerman’s is delighted to partner with Claire, Teffola, and her family’s farm to create this flavorful and unique granola. Building relationships with our suppliers and supporting our local food economies however we can is how Zingerman’s does business – in fact, the Bakehouse’s grain commission was founded to support the development of our regional grain economy – it’s easy to see how this partnership was a natural (and delicious) fit. 

Yum! Sold. How should we eat it? 

Don’t limit this versatile granola – it belongs in so many places beyond your cereal bowl! It’s a simple way to add a little flavor and texture in unexpected places. Count on it as one of your culinary tricks up your sleeve. 

Why don’t you… 

  • Scatter it on top of gelato? 
  • Sprinkle it on a salad? 
  • In yogurt or oatmeal with nut butter and fruit? 
  • Acai bowl topper?
  • Bake it into muffins?
  • Use it in a streusel? 

Taste this not-too-sweet granola featuring cacao, Michigan cherries and locally-grown teff for yourself – pick it up at the Deli or Bakeshop!