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A vintage French bus is bringing a delicious and beneficial new culinary cuisine to the South Hams - fermented food.
Charly Hicks, with help from her mum Julia, started experimenting with “gut conscious” and fermented food during lockdown and is now using an incredible 1969 Renault Estafette, a very bouncy left-hand-drive van that tops out at 40mph to bring fresh and fermented goodies to the grumbling guts of the public, she says “just like our digestion our truck likes it slow and steady, so apologies to anyone stuck behind us in the lanes!”
Not only is the food absolutely delicious, but it's “gut conscious” as its driving force. Charly and Julia were fed up with the lack of ‘good for you’ takeaway options and decided to do something about it. For Charly, lockdown meant experiments with food to help with improving digestion and boosting immunity by developing flavours that include fresh and fermented homemade and local produce.
This is the origins of The Bosko Bus, which has become the new, exciting food business in the South Hams.
The Bosko Bus, a food truck with positive, “gut conscious” cuisine and a passion for making you feel betterafter you’ve indulged in their Asian-influenced breakfast and lunch options.
The Bosko Bus has already started making a name for itself in the local running community, which Charly is passionate about.
She explained: “I met my partner Dave, who is an ultra runner and we really bonded over running and he got me into attending running events. I noticed that despite the fact that runners are very aware of their diets, the food available at those events tended to be high sugar - waffles, super sugary cakes and not a lot of alternative choices.
“So this sparked me to create a menu inclusive of nutritional food that supports recovery in athletes, be it a mile swimmer or an ultra marathon runner, food is the most important aspect of recovery.”
It’s not just food either, what you drink when in recovery can make a massive difference too. Charly continued: “When I had finished my first long half marathon I stupidly opted for a sugary drink and was offered a Coke. Because of the intense sugar, and because it was so fizzy it hit my diaphragm like a stone - it actually hurt.
“I did some more research and came up with some immunity shots based on mushrooms and wanted to introduce Kombucha into my drinks range to offer a drink that tastes good and gives back to recovery.”
Charly explains “because Kombucha is becoming so popular there are a lot of breweries that are producing some great products but on a massive scale. This often means more added sugars. We wanted to keep our suppliers local and small batch to maintain support to our amazing community.
“We opted to supply ‘Boo Chi’s’ Live, organic and sustainably sourced ‘booch’ they are a fantastic company and you can really feel your energy levels rising when you drink their traditionally brewed Kombucha- absolutely love their ginger booch, you’ve got to try it.”
The Bosko Bus’s great sellers are their potato salad in their nourish bowls, Bánh Mì Vietnamese baguettes,their homemade ‘Nut and Gut’ granola and her grandfather’s recipe banana bread… and yes she does put cherries in it.
“I lived in Australia for seven years and I wanted to bring a little piece if it back to the South Hams”, Charly explained, “In Aus they have a lot of Asian influences in their flavours, from Vietnam, Thailand andKorea, it is all fresh and vibrant produce.”
Although not strictly a vegetarian or vegan food truck - the Bosko Bus does also serves her mums slow cooked chicken alongside their vegan and veggie options - most of Charly’s food is ‘incidentally vegan’ as it tends to be healthier and gentler on the digestive system.
She builds her menu around a balance of the major food groups - fats, carbs, proteins, whether that be halloumi, egg, slow-roasted chicken or tempeh - sorry guys no red meat or processed food, very bad for the digestion - combines it with fresh and interesting flavours and then stuff a bunch of beautifully fermented goodies in and go from there.
Charly, along with her mum, has poured her heart and soul into this venture, using the inheritance that her dad left her when he passed away.
“I’ve got a background in hospitality”, Charly explained, “My dad owned Dusters, the jazz bar in Salcombe,some thirty years ago. I’ve always wanted to do something he would have really loved and would be proudof me for. Unfortunately he passed from a digestion related illness, which pushed my passion of gut-friendlyfood even more.
“He also was obsessed with old bangers, that’s where the idea for The Bosko Bus came from. I found a 1969 Estafette and decided to give it a shot.”
Digestion issues are something that have been an ongoing issue in Charly’s family. She realised that one of her personal main triggers was asking her body to digest sugars. This is the reason why The Bosko Bus uses all natural sugar in their sweet bakes. She started experimenting with natural sugars like dried fruits and natural syrups like maple and date.
Charly and her mum also played with creating a lot of Sauerkraut to their family and friends’ delight! Unfortunately they couldn’t create a consistent batch so they decided to leave it to the professionals, and so they sourced locally and they have created a very good relationship with Dan at ‘Crock & Cole’ who are local to Dartington and make Organic small batch fermenters.
“As a family we were always looking at fad diets to try and improve our digestion”, Charly said, “butwhatever we were doing, the benefits were short-lived and the triggering foods seemed to change frommonth to month.
“During lockdown I took the opportunity to look into nutrition and learn more about how it worked.”
People reacted differently to the lockdowns, with many people, understandably, becoming more sedentary,but Charly went the other way, taking up running as a hobby, completing online zoom fitness classes with JActive and trying to boost immunity with wheatgrass shots.
She also gave her mum, Julia, a challenge - to make her family-famous banana bread but with all natural sugars, which apparently mother was reluctant and nervous at first but now wouldn’t make it with refined sugar ever again.
As well as their market menu, which can be found online, The Bosko Bus can cater to any sized event, be it a large gathering in need of an assortment of fresh canapés, or an intimate birthday camp out craving a big hearty batch of campfire chilli - they are able to cater to your parties food preference and dietary requirements to optimise digestion so you can enjoy the rest of the event with a happy gut!
Charly said: “We have started with small, local events and have found the community so welcoming and supportive. Only a month in and we are already looking forward to so many major events happening within our beautiful South Hams region, including Hope Cove Weekend, Dartmouth Food Fest and Kingsbridge Show as well as loads of local craft markets, and cycling and running events. We can provide personalised menus to suit every taste and style.
“Get in touch and see what gut conscious food we can do for you.”
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