Sommellerie with an African twist

Fikayo Ifaturoti, a Nigerian wine enthusiast, developed an early fascination for the unique aromas and flavors of wine. While some of these scents, such as Soursop, Kola Nut, and African cherry (Agbalumo), evoked childhood memories of climbing the African almond (Ebelebo) trees in Nigeria, others were entirely new to her.

Despite completing a degree in Pharmacy with First Class Honours, Fikayo realized that her true passion lay in wine. She began her journey in the industry as a floor worker and eventually worked her way up to become a sommelier at 67 Pall Mall, London, one of the most competitive and immersive locations for sommeliers worldwide.

Exploring African flavors and essence

With a desire to increase inclusion in the wine industry, Fikayo recognized the need for more culturally relevant wine vocabulary and terminology. She embarked on a nomadic culinary trip to six African countries over two months to explore the continent’s flavors and essence as they relate to wine and record his findings.

African cuisine and wine: creating the meaning

Fikayo also founded Itunmo (which means“The meaning”), a multi-dimensional charity event aimed at bringing people together to share food, wine, and perspective in a culturally enriched environment. It consisted of a tasting menu of West African food with a Nigerian chef (Michelin background) with wine pairings. The main purpose of the event was to create awareness of African cuisine, explore what nuances and flavours of Africa can be represented in “wine format”, explore artworks by Black and African artists whilst we enjoyed some Kora music from a real Senegalese Griot.  The event raised £1,765 for Be Inclusive Hospitality and Black Minds Matter UK charity.

Fikayo hopes to continue learning and growing in the wine industry and to empower others who feel like they don’t have a place or voice within the industry. She believes in fostering inclusivity and creating opportunities for everyone to succeed.