Articles: Herbs & Spices

  1. Tonka Beans

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    Like vanilla, tonka beans (dipteryx odorata) are all about fragrance, or fragrance expressed as flavour; if you have a poor sense of smell, you might wonder what all the fuss is about. The first impression is vanilla, followed by bitter almond, cherry pits, maybe a hint of cloves, with a pervasive overall bitter-sweetness, like caramel,… Continue Reading→

  2. Daruma Wasabi

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    We videotaped a segment for a CBC piece about wasabi with our grower earlier this week in our Granville Island store, and had an opportunity to taste the new daruma variety that we are now carrying. Unlike the mazuma variety, which is best eaten immediately upon grating, daruma wasabi requires a few minutes for the… Continue Reading→

  3. Plain Vanilla?

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    Does the notion that vanilla – or plain vanilla – used as an adjective, can mean the simplest, least exotic, and nothing special, resonate with you? If so, change your vanilla. Like so many wonderful things to eat and drink (beans, chiles, squash, corn, chocolate, coffee…) vanilla was first cultivated by the Pre-Columbian peoples of… Continue Reading→

  4. Zaatar, Quatre-Épices, and Bespoke Herb and Spice Blends

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    Our wonderfully efficient new spice grinding equipment not only saves a lot of time – what took hours now takes only a few minutes – but generates very little heat, resulting in a superior product. We are taking advantage of this capability by developing new products for our Globavore and South China Seas ranges of… Continue Reading→

  5. Wild Fennel Pollen

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    Fennel pollen has an amazingly intense and sweet fragrance – more like anise than fennel – that beautifully complements seafood, particularly shellfish, creamy pastas and rice dishes, poultry, pork – and desserts (ice cream, créme brulé). Some recipes call for it as a meat rub, but we think that it is better used to finish… Continue Reading→

  6. Salt is Salt, Right?

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    Wrong. Salt is the most potent ingredient in your kitchen, and at the very least you should replace that carton of Sifto with a good quality fine sea salt. Then add a coarser salt such as fleur de sel for when texture and appearance are important – on a steak or foie gras, or to finish a caramelized desert.

  7. Spices – are the Spice of Life

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    We carry exotic herbs and spices that you will not find anywhere else. But, we also carry the standards – spices that you can buy at any supermarket – but better – fresher, more fragrant, sourced directly in small quantities and prepared and packaged by us. Recent arrivals include “Azafran”. Mexican (or False) Saffron is… Continue Reading→

  8. Is That Hot Enough for You?

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    South China Seas carries dozens of chile varieties, fresh and dried, whole, ground, flaked or cut into threads, from Peru, Korea, Mexico, Turkey, Thailand and elsewhere. We also carry a several peppercorn varieties, including fresh green peppercorns from South East Asia. We have just added more, including Long Peppers, Cubeb Peppers and the world’s hottest… Continue Reading→