Fonio with Blackberry Honey

Over the years I’ve looked to be creative with my breakfast ideas. I get tired of eating eggs, bacon, sausage and even oatmeal on my meat free days. Smoothies don’t fill me up, neither does yogurt with fruits and nuts. I recently decided to bring one of my favorite grains into play and switch it up to a breakfast feel.

Several months ago after taking a class with Michael Twitty, part of our homework was to look at videos of different people in the culinary world. I saw a video of Pierre Thiam from Yolele Foods and he discussed Fonio  as a gluten-free super grain that was a healthy alternative to others grains. Because I follow a mostly gluten-free eating plan for health reasons, I thought I’d give it a try. Fonio is super simple to make and is very tasty.

On one particular day I wanted to try and make blackberry jam, but with honey instead of sugar. I rinsed the blackberries, put them in a pot and covered them with water. I then squeezed in the juice of one large lemon. I did not want to use pectin so I left it at that. After the liquid began to boil, I turned the heat down to let it simmer.

After 45 minutes I checked the fragrant wonder on my stove, then decided to gently mash the blackberries. As the water evaporated more, I saw that the “jam” wasn’t thickening at all. I then got an idea.

I turned off the burner and let the mashed blackberries cool for just a few minutes. I then grabbed my jar of raw honey, and added about 1/4 cup while stirring. After I stirred for about two minutes, I poured the mixture into a sterilized jar. I let it sit room temperature for about 30 minutes and put it in the fridge to cool. I then asked myself, “What’s for breakfast today?” I decided to make something that would be a great vehicle for the thick syrupy blackberries.


I grabbed my bag of fonio out the cupboard and pulled the almond milk out the fridge. I poured about a cup of dry fonio into the pot and let the pot warm a bit. According to the directions, one would add a fat like butter, olive oil, etc and stir into the fonio until it’s coated. I did not want to use what I had, so I just put the fonio in dry. 

I poured in approximated one-and-a-half cups of almond milk, a dash of sea salt and then stirred. When the almond milk began to boil, I stirred, turned off the heat and then covered the pot. I came back two minutes later and the fonio was perfectly cooked, but all the almond milk had absorbed. I added another 1/4 cup of almond milk, stirred and poured it into a bowl.

I went to the fridge and picked up my blackberry creation. I poured about 1/4 cup onto the fonio. I looked at the beautiful bowl of beige and maroon colors perfectly matched together and felt very pleased with what I had created.

I looked over at the remaining organic walnuts on my kitchen table and knew they would make an excellent addition to this delightful morning meal. Now time for the taste test.

The breakfast did not last for long. My newest creation had me at the first bite. The smooth, creamy fonio reminded me of my childhood favorite, Cream of Wheat. It also paired well with the blackberry flavored honey.

The consistency of the blackberries was too thin for a jam, not chunky enough for a compote but not liquid like a syrup. I could taste both the honey and the blackberries, therefore the name seemed pretty obvious to me, “Blackberry Honey.” 

My breakfast experiment was a success. Fonio with Blackberry Honey had a fantastic flavor. My body felt great after eating, not too full and completely energized. It’s now a comforting addition to my personal breakfast menu and have eaten the meal three times this week.

Since I made all the Blackberry Honey disappear, I’ll try to create another. Which berry will I use next?

Thank you for reading!

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