In a nutshell: Aged for five years, use these exquisite spruce needles to perk up game, meat, salmon and desserts.
Spruce needles (Picea mariana) elevate both sweet and savoury dishes. It only takes a few precious needles to kick up braised game, salmon dishes (like gravlax), or even fragrant desserts. They also go well with lemon, wild mushrooms, berries and red meat.
To extract the maximum amount of flavour, we recommend crushing them in a mortar before adding them to your burgers, slow cooked dishes, or sauces made with red wine or port. You can also infuse them in a simple syrup to give your cocktails a taste of the wild, or even as a topping for ice cream.
Our Black Spruce Needles are harvested with care in the boreal forest, in the northern part of the Lac Saint-Jean region in Quebec. They are meticulously trimmed with scissors, ensuring no part of the branch remains to overpower the delicate spruce with a woody flavour. The needles are then aged for 5 years.
This process allows the bitter tannins to break down slowly and- over the course of many years- gently develop the subtle flavours contained within the essential oils. Since Aged Spruce Needles are rich in esters, and have a particularly fruity aroma, fully matured needles present an exquisite flavour.
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.