In a nutshell: Some lovely Sumac (a key spice in Turkish and Middle Eastern cooking) to scatter over salads and grills and two amazing types of pepper - sweet and citrusy wild Voatsiperifery and fruity and hot Chicken Hill Peppercorns, harvested in the Cardamom Hills of India.
Sumac -In the Middle East and Turkey, sumac is used in much the same way that we use vinegar or lemon juice to add acidity to certain dishes. The ancient Greeks and Romans were known to use it too in their preserving and cooking before the advent of lemons. Still grown in Italy (especially Sicily) and Greece where they make a sumac oil and sprinkle it onto grilled meats. This key spice in Turkish and Middle Eastern cooking, adds a fruity, sour dimension to many classic recipes like Lebanese fattoush salad, kofte, lahmacun and grilled lamb. It's obligatory sprinkled over or into the chopped, onion and tomato salad beloved in the region and can also be added too the spice mix zaatar. Only the outer flesh of the berry from the Rhus coriaria bush is harvested when it turns a crimson colour, just before ripening. They are then sun-dried whole before being ground. Try some sprinkled on your next crab salad or in a lamb and vegetable meat pie and it's also good combined with olive oil and sea salt to make a quick dressing for green bean or cauliflower salads.
Wild Voatsiperifery Black Peppercorns - Great Taste 1-star award winner. This rare wild pepper from Madagascar is being discovered by adventurous chefs to add to dishes on their menus. Wild Voatsiperifery pepper (piper borbonense), distinguishable by its curved tail, is a truly unique wild Cubeb pepper sourced from Madagascar. Despite its rarity, many adventurous chefs are discovering the joys of its incredibly aromatic and complex flavour profile and using it in their recipes. Like Cubeb, Black and Long peppers, Voatsiperifery is a true pepper from the piperaceae family of climbing pepper vines. The woody and floral fragrance of these dense red-brown peppercorns evoke citrus fruits and give an exciting tongue-numbing sensation when crunched in the mouth. It has been a secret ingredient in the Madagascan kitchen for centuries but hard to get hold of in the West. Try seasoning meat and poultry, fish and seafood with it or combine into chocolate desserts where its subtle sweetness and moderate heat add some depth of flavour. We use it when cooking pepper squid or grilling scallops and make a dry rub with orange zest, ginger and Voatsiperifery Wild Pepper to put on our duck or chicken breasts when pan-frying.
Chicken Hill Peppercorns - A semi-cultivated pepper harvested in the Cardamom Hills. Lively, fruity, and hot. Chicken hill pepper grows on a very small plot of land In the Cardamom Hills, with a microclimate unique to the region. This exceptional terroir produces dense, heavy peppercorns, which in turn presents a heady, strong aroma reminiscent of black tea. With plenty of heat, this gorgeous black pepper kicks up any dish, whether added during cooking or as a finishing spice.
- Sumac - 40g
- Chicken Hill Peppercorns - 50g
- Wild Voatsiperifery Black Peppercorns - 40g
About Épices de Cru
Épices de Cru began in 1982 as a catering partnership between Philippe and Ethné de Vienne. Their mission was a kind of “cooking pot anthropology:” learning the secrets of family cooking around the world and applying these techniques to the needs of hungry Montrealers. The secret, they learned, was spices. Over the last two decades, Philippe and Ethné have searched for the world’s best spices, accompanied by their children, Marika and Arik. The de Viennes believe in direct sourcing spices: visiting growing regions, spending time with growers, and developing personal relationships that last decades. In 2004, they officially opened their first spice shop in Montreal’s fantastic Jean Talon market– it’s since become a mecca for foodies from all over the world. I first visited in 2008 and have been buying and using their spices on a regular basis ever since that first exciting visit. They steadfastly maintain that they do nothing original, only facilitating the exchange of culinary common sense from one place to another. But, what they do is simply quite brilliant - by providing us with the finest quality ingredients, and their superb spice mixes, we can all experiment with unusual spices and recreate delicious recipes from around the world.