Want to learn more about spices, their history and how to use them?

View Upcoming Events on our website to see where Ian ‘Herbie’ Hemphill is giving a Spice Appreciation Class or engaging audiences in Spice Conversations.

If you are looking for a hands-on experience, this special Spice Essentials with Ian and Kate at The Essential Ingredient should not be missed.

Some of the aspects Ian will cover in spice classes and conversations are:

  1. A brief history of the spice trade and the Hemphill family’s obsession with herbs and spices for over 50 years.
  2. The difference between a herb and a spice
  3. Vanilla, how it is grown and processed
  4. Coriander, about the plant, its leaves and seeds and some unusual facts
  5. Storage, how to store and what does shelf life actually mean?
  6. Quality and Adulteration, what is quality, how to identify and why it is important?
  7. Saffron, facts and myths around the world’s most expensive spice
  8. Cinnamon and cassia, what’s the difference and why you need to know
  9. Pepper, once the world’s most traded spices. Learn about black, white, green, pink, schinus pink, long, cubeb, Sichuan & Australian native pepperberry & leaf
  10. Chilli and all its derivatives such as paprika, unknown to India, China and Europe only 500 years ago.
  11. The principles of spice blending when you will learn how to make your own balanced spice blends
  12. Ras el Hanout and Super Ras el Hanout, the most exotic Moroccan inspired spice blend on Earth.
  13. Fragrant Sweet Spice, is another exotic blend for everyday use
  14. Allspice, not to be confused with mixed spice, discover an unusual property in this spice that also exists in a popular herb
  15. Cloves, only grew on a handful of islands in the Indonesian archipelago until the 18th Century. Hear how this spice influenced the course of history
  16. Nutmeg and Mace, also from the spice islands, influenced the reason why the Dutch swapped Manhattan for a few islands in the Banda Sea
  17. Australian native herbs and spices are growing in popularity, but how well do we understand their history and the most effective way to use them in cooking
  18. Lemon Myrtle, one of the easiest to use and most delightful Australian native herbs
  19. Strawberry Gum, contains a naturally occurring substance that has been used by European jam manufacturers for decades.
  20. Saltbush, a native plant that contains high levels of sodium
  21. Bush Tomato/Akudjura, does this really taste of Anzac biscuits?
  22. Wattleseed can help you find gold!

For more information and recipes refer to;


The Spice & Herb Bible 3rd Edition by Ian Hemphill with recipes by Kate Hemphill