In a nutshell: A small, wild pepper from Quebec, with a bold citrus aroma. Very rare, it’s well worth discovering!
North American prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum Miller) comes from the same family as Sichuan pepper, also called Chinese prickly ash, and Sansho pepper, also called Japanese prickly ash. It’s not, botanically speaking, a true pepper. Prickly ash is lightly peppery, and leaves a lingering but gentle, prickly sensation on the tongue. Its numbing effect is considerably more delicate than Sichuan Peppercorn. Its rich and complex aroma has lingering flavours of clementine and lime.
Our prickly ash is harvested by hand near Outaouais. The small fruits grow on a bush that’s quite resinous, making the harvest especially difficult. This product is available in extremely limited quantity.
Prickly ash is great with fish, seafood, and poultry.
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.