- Spices from Bhutan
- Spice Appreciation Classes on DVD
- Spice Kits for Christmas
- New Book – Spicery
- Spice Discovery Tour – 2005
- Chocolate Wattleseed Biscuit Recipe
About a year ago, we met a group of representatives from the small kingdom of Bhutan and agreed to assist them with the marketing of their spice crops. It is a landlocked country, bordered on the northern side by Mongolia and on the other three sides by India. To help you place this tiny kingdom on your mental map, picture Nepal to the west, Myanmar (Burma) south-east, Bangladesh due south and China beyond the Himalayas to the north and north-east. The farmers of Bhutan, being Buddhist, do not believe in destroying any forms of life and therefore use no pesticides at all. This means that the products, while not certified organic, are entirely chemical-free.
So September saw us tramping around plantations of brown cardamom on steep and steamy mountain slopes, taking photographs of the harvest. Szechuan pepper (prickly ash) trees grow wild, and are harvested only when a convenient crop presents itself. We slipped and slid down a steep grassy slope to get some photographs, and made the mistake of tasting a fresh seed-pod. (It took an anesthetizing Strepsil to ease the burn!) Star anise trees also grow wild, however they bear a 10-pointed star which has no flavour and is mildly toxic. We discussed caraway prices on a farm within view of snow-covered peaks, and met with government officials to explore the best ways that we can help the farmers make the most of low volume, high value crops. We hope that the wheels, now in slow motion, will eventually bring Bhutan spices to our store.
Every year our Spice Appreciation, Spice Advice and Spice Workshop classes book out long before the end of the year. As a solution, we have made a DVD of the Spice Class, which includes in its three-hour duration a huge amount of information as well as several recipes. At $39.95, it’s cheaper than a class, and you can refresh your memory on matters spicy as often as you wish! Full of information, recipes, and hints, the DVD is easy to navigate. View the DVD online
We have introduced a super-sized kit (it won’t make you fat!) that we identify as the “Pantry Start-Up” Kit. Chock-a-block with all the necessities for everyday cooking, there are twenty herbs, spices and blends, which make this kit an excellent house-warming, engagement or moving-in-together gift, priced at $65.00.
You might be interested in the menu that we created for our launch of Spicery at Shearer’s Bookshop in Leichhardt. Mostly taken from the new book, it went like this:
- Little Onion Tarts with Nigella
- Chicken Skewers flavoured with Balmain-Rozelle Spice
- Artichoke Puree with Chilli and Cumin, in little pastry cases
- Cheeses served with Pear and Saffron Relish
- Chocolate Wattleseed Biscuits
Our good friends at Tucker Seabrook were kind enough to supply delicious wines for the event.
We can’t resist a little pat on our own backs, if you’ll pardon the crowing. At the recent Vittoria Food Media Awards, Herbaceous was highly commended in the Simon Johnson “Literary Excellence in a Food-Related Book” category. We will have the top award in our sights for Spicery when the next awards come around!
We wish you all a wonderful festive season, with loads of tasty, flavourful food!
Herbie and Liz.