NEWSLETTER: Spring 2013

NEWSLETTER Spring 2013

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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


Have a wonderful Spring, and spice happily!

Herbie and Liz