In a nutshell: Our amazing Indian Special Selection Cloves are hand-harvested when just ripe and before the buds burst into pink flowers and have incredible flavour.
These Special Selection cloves should become one of the cornerstones of your spice cupboard. Forget the classic Christmas ham over-studded with cloves, you only need 2 or 3 of our cloves to add depth of flavour and their delicate aroma perfumes all kinds of dishes. Try adding to basmati rice dishes, a classic Greek rabbit or beef stifado, venison stew or rubbing over a goose or duck before roasting. My mother always stuck a handful of cloves into a whole peeled onion when making chicken stock or boiling cheap cuts of meat and often gave me some to chew for toothaches. They also have well known antibacterial qualities so try popping a few into a cup of herb tea next time you make one.
India is not generally recognized as a favoured clove growing terroir, which is why we were so taken aback by the amazing quality of the cloves grown in the South west of the country by Najeeb and Sihab. After several visits, we did finally manage to convince these two producers to hand-harvest only the buds of flowering clove bouquets that were ripe for the picking just for us. Picking ripe buds every day, as opposed to a general harvest which then leads to selection, assures us of having the very best, at their peak. Most of our cloves have a light coloured head indicating that they were harvested only a few hours before the pink buds burst into a flower.
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.