The man behind the brand, James Livingstone-Wallace, who is a descendent of the 19th-century Scottish explorer, Dr David Livingstone, came across smallholders growing quinoa while travelling with his family in the Peruvian Andes. On returning home, James set up a Fairtrade partnership with the Cabaña Farming Co-operative just north of Lake Titicaca. The Quinola brand is now proud to launch the best pearl, red and black Peruvian quinoa in the UK.
"In Peru, where quinoa has been eaten for thousands of years and was the sacred mothergrain of the Incas, it is considered an essential part of the diet," says James, who gave up a career as a fund manager to travel with his wife and three children.
"Not only is quinoa a 'complete protein', meaning that it contains all the essential amino acids our body needs, it is also gluten-free and easily digested. Our children, Alice and Oscar, both love the taste and texture of the quinoa - especially the black quinoa, which has a lovely crunchy texture and is hard to source in the UK. They are the inspiration for the brand's name, while our other son George makes an appearance on the packaging as a condor.
"Quinola is a deeply ethical brand. We not only work directly with the smallholders of Cabaña but also employ people with learning difficulties to package it in recycled cardboard in France. And to underline its importance as a grain, the United Nations has designated 2013 the International Year of Quinoa. It is even NASA's food of choice for astronauts on deep space travel. As superfoods go, you can't get better endorsement than that!"
Quinola is available from delicatessens, Fortnum & Masons, Planet Organic, Selfridges, and by mail order www.quinola.com. The 500g packs of Pearl cost £3.50 RRP and the 400g packs of Red and Black cost £3.50 RRP