NEWSLETTER: Spring 2013

September 01, 2013 posted in Newsletters

Vanilla Products

As winter fades into memory, we are reminded that life is sweet. Now sweet things, like salty things, are both good guys and bad guys in the dietary world, so the line we’re walking on this is moderation. As our grandparents would have said, a bit of what you fancy does you good.

We have three new products for when you are in the mood for a sweet treat – Vanilla Bean Powder and two luscious new blends: Vanilla Bean Sugar and Sugar ‘n’ Spice.

You have been asking for a powdered vanilla for many years, and we have resisted due to the fact that often vanilla bean powder is made from grinding old beans that don’t have much flavour. As you can imagine, it’s a lot easier to grind something that is dry and crisp, rather than something soft, moist and pliable. We have never seen a powdered vanilla bean that we would be prepared to put the Herbie’s label on … until now. We have found a producer on the Pacific island of Vanuatu whose ground vanilla beans are full of natural flavour, and we are happy to use this great product to make such blends as Spice Dust and our two new babies listed above, and to offer it to you as Vanilla Bean Powder in a small 20g pouch for $9.80.

Whilst Vanilla Bean Sugar is pretty well self-explanatory, Sugar ‘n’ Spice needs a little introduction. Imagine caster sugar infused with cassia, cinnamon, ground rose petals, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and a tiny touch of Pasilla chilli … aroma and flavour to die for! Imagine fresh, fluffy banana and pecan muffins, topped with a crunchy mixture of finely chopped pecans and Sugar ‘n’ Spice. Imagine smooth, creamy porridge enhanced with Sugar ‘n’ Spice, or melting moments sprinkled with Sugar ‘n’ Spice before baking. Let your imagination run riot with this delicious blend.

To keep an even hand in the salt/sugar arena, we are proud to introduce Saltbush, the salty Australian native leaf, ground to a powder. Known commonly as Old Man Saltbush, this tough plant is at home in the dry inland areas of Australia, and is a sprawling grey-blue shrub with edible leaves. Whilst it is distinctly salty in flavour, it has less than 20% of the sodium content of salt, so it’s lovely to use in a reduced-salt diet. We’ve had fun playing with it, and you’ll love the recipe for Aussie-spiced macadamias that we’ve put on the back of the pack. It’s in a 20g pack, at a cost of $6.80. If you can’t get hold of saltbush lamb (lamb grazed on saltbush pasture), the next-best thing is to get yourself a leg a beautiful seasonal spring lamb, rub it generously with saltbush and freshly-ground black pepper, and roast it!

Catch of the Day 

In exploring the possibilities of saltbush and other Australian natives, we played with the idea of mixing our original indigenous herbs and spices with some of the stars from the wider world stage. In a cushioning body of coriander seed, paprika and turmeric, we’ve combined the Australian natives: saltbush, pepperberry, wattleseed, desert lime, lemon myrtle and akudjura. Fine-tuned to include lemon, ginger, and a little cinnamon, this blend just begs for scallops, prawns, or fish, so we’ve named it Catch of the Day. Whatever you catch will marry happily with this unique blend.

Chilli Jalapeno Ground

Finally, in the flavour spectrum, the hot element is covered by our new ground green jalapeno chilli. Listed as Chilli Jalapeno Ground, this will be a great find for those chilli freaks who have discovered the thrill of Mexican flavours. Harvested green, this chilli has a delightful fresh and hot flavour. We’ve given it a rating of 8 out of 10, and be prepared to sneeze as that fine powder gets up your nose! It’s in a 30 gram pack, priced at $4.50.

Box of Ideas

We trust you have been enjoying the Box of Ideas during winter, and that it has helped you to expand your culinary boundaries. The winter box is now discontinued in favour of a brand new Box of Ideas – Spring. With asparagus in season, we’re suggesting asparagus with vadouvan butter, plus some sunny Mexican ideas, and some other delicious ideas. So in your $25.00 box, you’ll find Vadouvan curry, Roast Vegetable Herb Mix, Guacamole mix, Mole Poblano, and Paella Spice Mix, with recipes and ideas for delicious Spring food. We’ve sought out a few delicious authentic Mexican ideas that will have you at the cutting edge of Australian trends towards Central American cuisine.

Greek Island of Chios

Whilst you are receiving your Spring newsletter, we are finding out all about the Greek spice, mastic, and seeing the harvest of this amazing opaque tear of sap on the Greek island of Chios. Mastic comes from the gum mastic tree, a tough little tree native to Chios that can live for up to 200 years. “Tears” may seem a strange word to use for pieces of mastic, however there is a reason that lies in legend: when Saint Issidoros was tortured by Romans in AD250, his dead body was dragged to the shade of a mastic tree. Upon seeing the saint’s mutilated body, legend has it that the tree wept real tears. Harvesting involves making many small cuts in the trunk of the tree, from which the sap weeps. More on that after we return!


Prepare yourselves for the bad news … the Australian dollar has slipped, and the cost holiday we’ve had for the past years is just about over. We’ll hold prices steady for as long as we can, but sadly everything is now costing more.

Austen Family’s Recipes

2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the publishing of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Why does this apply to our world of spices? Google “the cook and the curator curree” and you’ll find the Austen family’s recipe, given to them by their friend Mrs Jane Fowle. It is interesting to note the use of galangal and turmeric in the blend, which would have been quite exotic and hard-to-find ingredients in 1813.

Truthful Advertising

Customers often comment on the difference between our 100% wasabi powder and the flavoured wasabi products in jars and tubes. Some of these are just mustard and horseradish mixtures with green colouring. New tests conducted in Switzerland have set a new standard for EU labeling requirements, and these faux wasabi wannabees are now being taken from shelves in Switzerland and Germany as they are known to be not what they say they are. Another step closer to Truth in Advertising … we love it!

Have a wonderful Spring, and spice happily!

Herbie and Liz

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