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Ghana native, now living in Appleton, brings a taste of home to America

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 4:15 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - They say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. An Appleton man is hoping to win over Americans with a taste of his home country.

Yaw Asare came to Appleton in 1992 from Ghana to attend Lawrence University and never left. Nearly 30 years later, though, he was a little homesick.

“I missed my childhood snack. It was my favorite when I was back home in Ghana. We used to buy it from street hawkers and get them at recess, during snack and at other fun occasions,” says Asare.

That snack was peanut brittle. In Ghana it’s made with just four ingredients: peanuts, cane sugar, water, and a little bit of salt.

According to Asare, “It’s more of it being a peanut snack that’s being held together by sugar versus being a snack that is mainly a toffee with a smattering of peanuts in it.”

Asare started to make the brittle in his own kitchen, sharing it with friends and family. He says, “I decided, you know what, since no one is really offering this around here I decided to go around and share it with the community and see what their response would be.”

That’s where Sharay’s Ghana Style Brittle was born. Sharay was Asare’s nickname as a teen.

With his business partners, Asare started selling his brittle at farmer’s markets last summer, drumming up interest just by talking with people about it since COVID-19 prevented him from actually offering samples.

“What people would do is they’d buy one bag out of caution, and then surprisingly they would come back the next farmer’s market and tell me, OK, I need two, I need three, I need four, I need five,” says Asare.

He has since teamed up with a co-packer and his product is in multiple stores from Door County through Fond du Lac. He’s hoping the flavors of Ghana, through his brittle, will resonate with people as he looks to expand the Sharay’s line and the taste buds of Americans.

“One of the things I want to do is popularize African foods and//we’ll look to go ahead and scour all of Africa to find fun snacks and foods to package and bring to the U.S.,” adds Asare.

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