In a nutshell: This highly aromatic aniseed is very addictive and can be added to all your spice blends, breads, biscuits and cakes.
This Spanish aniseed or anise (Pimpenella anisum) is highly aromatic and addictive. A member of the same flavour family as licorice and herbs such as dill, tarragon and basil, aniseed has a strong, aromatic fennel flavour but does not present the bitter or sweet tastes of its cousins. Also known as sweet cumin, anise hyssop or fennel anise.
Widely used in ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece, today it is found in recipes all over the world and is particularly popular in the Middle East and India. Used to flavour French pastis, Turkish raki, Greek ouzo and in Mediterranean herbal tea blends.
Aniseed lends itself particularly well to vegetarian and seafood dishes, as well as hearty beef stews. It is the central spice in Indian curries, a finishing spice for Middle Eastern dishes, and an aromatic base for many Scandinavian breads. It can be used to flavour cream-based desserts, biscotti and of course anise cookies. In savoury dishes, anise is often used in conjunction with other spices. Mexicans add a pinch to adobos and chilli pastes. In the Middle East, aniseed tea is called Yansoon.
Toasting our whole Anise seeds adds a new dimension to their already aromatic flavour.
How to use
- Bake some aniseed flavoured biscotti and use in Scandi-style breads and cakes.
- Sprinkle over an orange and radish salad drizzled with olive oil and crunchy sea salt.
- Add to your morning toasted bagel smeared with cream cheese and smoked salmon.
- Toast the seeds and add to all types of spic blends.
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.