HERBIE'S BLOG

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

What is Mastic?

Mastic is the name given to the resinous gum that exudes from the scored bark of the Gum Mastic Tree. There are many varieties of mastic trees (Pistacia lentiscus) in the Mediterranean and Middle East, yet most of the world’s production of gum mastic comes from the “Protected Designation of Origin” trees (P. lentiscus var. Chia) that grow on the Greek island of Chios. The name

Behind the Scenes

Pepper and Salt

In India, Pepper is the King of Spices and Cardamom the Queen! Recipes say "Season to taste" and people ask "With what?" Answer: to season always means with salt. We were visited by a lovely customer, David. David wanted to know what are the best peppercorns, and all the food shops he visited told him that they had all kinds of salt, but "Yeah,

Behind the Scenes

What’s so Special About Aleppo Pepper?

Besides being a popular spice for Yotam Otolenghi, Aleppo Pepper is becoming the go-to chilli for many cooks and food lovers. Why would a style of chilli be called a pepper? After all it is not a peppercorn! Let’s start with a bit of background. You may recall that Christopher Columbus was sailing west to get to the Indonesian spice islands, because he guessed

Behind the Scenes

The Mystique of Baharat Spice Blend

Baharat, also known as Lebanese Seven Spice or Advieh, has become one of the many ‘go-to’ spice blends along with Ras el Hanout and Chermoula. Herbie, always up to date or ahead with spice trends, was asked to contribute this article to Australian Gourmet Traveller in 1999. Yes, 24 years ago! This is the article: Legendary spice merchant and blender, Ian (Herbie) Hemphill, has

Behind the Scenes

Herbie’s Spices Newsletter Autumn 2023

Like all Australians, we have been shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the terrible earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.  We source some of our best and most popular products (sumac, Aleppo pepper) from these areas, and over the years we have formed a strong bond with the hospitable people in the Gaziantep region.  Our thoughts are with them at this terrible and

Behind the Scenes

Herbie’s Spices Joins The Central Coast Maker’s Trail

Herbie’s Spices is pleased to announce that we have joined The Central Coast Maker’s Trail. Whether you have a few hours or an entire weekend to explore, the Central Coast Makers Trail is the perfect adventure. This self-indulgent food and drink discovery trail will thrill you with new sensations and behind-the-scenes experiences. Meet skilled artisans and award-winning providores. Enjoy gourmet tastings, voyages of discovery

Behind the Scenes

Herbie’s Newsletter – Spring 2022

What are the things that make you know what it is to be Australian?  To us it’s the feeling you have when you see a boomerang fashioned from flimsy balsawood, made in some cheap-labour offshore country, for tourists to buy for a pittance and take home as a “genuine” Australian article.  The same feeling of outrage and violation is felt by Koreans when their

Behind the Scenes

Peppercorns – What’s Your Favourite?

When we think of peppercorns, it is easy to think of them in terms of black pepper, and well, is black pepper just black pepper? More about white pepper and other pepper varieties later, for now we want to tell you about the different black peppercorns, and the nuances in aroma and taste each type has. Pepper vines are a particularly attractive sight in

Behind the Scenes

Nigella – ‘The Spice That is’!

Cooks are discovering a culinary seed spice that believe it or not has been ubiquitous for many years. Those little black seeds we see on Turkish bread, are more often than not nigella seeds! The nigella of culinary use is an erect annual, a member of the buttercup family and close relative to the decorative plant that is known as ‘love-in-a-mist’ (N. damascena). Nigella

Behind the Scenes

ALL ABOUT ZA’ATAR

Za’atar, (often spelled zaatar, zartar, zatar) is a Middle Eastern spice blend that is used to flavour breads, and to season dishes in much the same manner as Mixed Herbs are used in Western cooking. The term Za’atar tends to create some confusion in the marketplace, as this Arabic word is used in many Middle Eastern countries to describe both the herb thyme, and

Behind the Scenes

Herbie makes Avial (South Indian Vegetable Curry) in South India

Herbie loves being in South India, the food and the people. In this video he makes Avial (a South Indian Vegetable Curry). Making lightly spiced meals is one of life’s great pleasures, made all the simpler with our Herbie’s Spices all-natural spice blends.

Behind the Scenes

Herbie Makes Vegetarian Sambar in Cochin

One of Herbie’s favourite places in India is Brunton’s Boatyard in Cochin In this video, he makes a Vegetarian Sambar.

Behind the Scenes

Why Herbie is Obsessed with Spices

During this time when many of us are isolated, either voluntarily or forced, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the things I cover at the beginning of a Spice Appreciation Class. As classes are off now, here goes a virtual communication! People often ask why I am so obsessed with spices. This video explains where it all started,

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