Gastronomy With A Flair

A Purveyor of Top-Shelf Gourmet Specialties

Introducing Our Exotic Seasonings

We are pleased and excited to present our newest products. These exotic seasonings bring the great flavors from foreign lands such as Africa and India to your kitchen. These seasonings provide a wonderful range of taste experiences and will truly spice up your cooking!


Harissa is a staple ingredient in North African cuisine, particularly in Algeria, Libya and Tunisia. Harissa has been steadily gaining popularity in other countries — most notably Egypt, Morocco and Turkey.

In these regions, Harissa is a richly flavored chili sauce, or sometimes a paste, made by mixing the dry Harissa spices blend with olive oil or vegetable oil. It is often used as a table condiment in much the same way as we would use ketchup, salsa or Tabasco here in the U.S.

Originating in Tunisia, this North African pepper sauce is used as an ingredient in goat or fish stew, as well as in Lablabi, a chickpea soup usually eaten for breakfast. It is also often used to flavor couscous. Additionally, the paste-like pepper sauce makes an excellent rub for meats, including chicken and fish, as well as for eggplant.

Recipes for harissa vary according to the household and the region. Ingredients can include cumin, red peppers, garlic, coriander, and lemon juice. Saharan versions of the sauce are made with peppers that give it a smoky flavor.

Lamb merguez sausage [a spicy sausage of North Africa], is a popular street food in France, where vendors grill the links until crisp and lightly charred and serve them with mustard. The links can also be enjoyed with a refreshing yogurt dip spiked with Harissa.
Starting with the spice blend, you can create your own paste by adding a splash of hot water and then blend in some extra virgin olive oil to form a paste. Add a touch of lemon juice for a variation. Once you've made the paste, refrigerate it overnight to allow the flavors to fully blend. You will then have a paste, or sauce, that has some heat along with great taste complexity. The mixture will keep for several weeks when refrigerated.

For the more adventurous home chef, add some minced tomatoes [fresh, canned or sun-dried] and some roasted red bell peppers to moderate the heat and enrich the flavor.

Our Harissa spice blend is salt-free, containing paprika, Guajillo chili powder, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, garlic, lemon, bird's eye chili powder, and caraway seed.
Za'atar [Israeli]

Za'atar, pronounced “zah-tur”, also spelled zaatar, za'tar, zahtar and zahatar, is a Middle Eastern spice blend used from North Africa into Turkey. There is a bit of confusion surrounding za'atar as it has been used to identify everything from a class of herbs to a spice blend.
There exists some confusion with Za'atar: it is a wild herb, a condiment, a dip, and a spice blend. It is an ancient cultural spice blend that serves as a unique identifying culinary identifier for several nations of the Middle East. Of course each of these nations claims that their version is the truest and the best za’atar. It is clearly not a typical spice blend.

Historically, cooks throughout the Fertile Crescent [the region includinig western Asia, as well as the Nile Valley and Nile Delta of northeast Africa], Iraq, and the Arabian peninsula made their own variations of Za'atar. Recipes for Za’atar spice mixtures were often well-guarded secrets and were not even passed down to daughters or shared with other close members of the family. This long standing tradition is the primary reason that it is challenging to determine exactly which spices are used by the various Middle Eastern and North African culinary cultures in making their versions of Za’atar.

While family recipes are very confidential, there are regional variations that are a bit more pronounced. Israeli Za'atar, integrated into the Jewish community from the surrounding Arab nations much like America’s adoption of salsa, may also include dried dill. In the Jordanian version of Za'atar, sumac is more pronounced, so it has a reddish color and tartar flavor, while in Lebanon, orange zest may be added to their versions of Za'atar.

Za'atar is most frequently used as a table condiment, dusted on food on its own, or mixed with olive oil as a dip for soft, plush flatbreads. Za'atar is sprinkled on hummus or eaten with Labneh, the Lebanese version of cream cheese popular in Middle Eastern countries. Za'atar also makes a superb dry-rub for roasted chicken, fish or lamb, as well as on firm or starchy vegetables like cauliflower or potatoes.

In Lebanon, Za'atar is most often associated with breakfast. Sprinkle some on your next plate of eggs, or bowl of oatmeal or yogurt. Try adding some to your next batch of lemon cookies. Za’atar works equally well in both sweet and savory dishes. Za'atar may be eaten, as is, straight from your hand, but it seems that it can quickly become somewhat strangely addicting-like — Especially when paired with popcorn!

This salt-free version of an Israeli Za'atar is hand-blended from sesame seeds, sumac, coriander, thyme, cumin and black pepper. The flavor profile of our Za’atar has a complex nutty and woodsy intensity while the sumac adds an acidic lift that is a bit tart like lemon juice. There are also some herbaceous, floral undertones.
Za'atar [Syrian]

Homemade spice blends always have been closely guarded family secrets and have flavored Middle Eastern food since the Middle Ages. There are countless versions that vary from region to region, village to village, and even family to family. Za'atar is just such a blend. This seasoning is a delightful blend of dried herbs, sesame seeds, and sumac, and usually salt. The regional variations can be quite different, as with salsas here in the US. While there is no right or wrong salsa, practically everyone has their favorite variation.

In Israel, Zahtar often contains dill weed, while the Jordanian version is redder in color due to the larger amounts of sumac used, and the Lebanese versions may contain orange zest. Za'atar is commonly used as a table condiment, much like we would use pepper. In Lebanon, it is believed to clear the mind and provide strength and is commonly used with breakfast dishes. Following this lead, you can sprinkle it over your breakfast oatmeal or eggs for a zesty twist.

Za'atar is often stirred into olive oil and used as a dip or made into a paste for soft flatbreads and vegetables or applied to bread prior to baking. Za'atar also works exceptionally well as a dry rub for chicken, lamb, fish, and seafood. It partners well with cauliflower and potatoes. It works well to season homemade hummus, and it is also a delicious addition to onion dip or used as a topping with sour cream on baked potatoes. It makes a wonderful Za'atar crusted baked chicken, along with Za'atar flavored bread, tomatoes, and Za'atar spiced meatballs.

Our's is an authentic Syrian Za'atar recipe that is hand-blended combining sesame seeds, sumac, coriander, cumin, lemon zest, coarse sea salt, and anise seed.

Madras Curry Powder

Indian cooks have a pronounced tendency to provide the seasonings for their meals one-by-one. They will make their blends pretty much on- the-the fly, but here we tend just to reach for the jar of the desired blend and move on with our cooking. We do, however, want to acheive that authentic taste and produce a flavorful and enjoyable meal.

Madras Curry is a seasoning flavor that represents a classic curry powder that originated in Southern India. Madras curry is the style of curry that western tastes expect from a curry powder. Our Madras Curry Powder is not a bland curry powder but rather presents a complex flavor profile. The spices for our Madras Curry blend are ground weekly in small batches to ensure the freshness of the product.

This product is hand-blended from coriander, turmeric, brown mustard, fenugreek seed, cumin, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, ginger, black pepper and cardamom.

Tandoori Spice

In the U.S., probably the most commonly thought of classic Indian dish is Tandoori chicken. The unique seasoning blend that is used is commonly referred to as Tandoori Masala, Tandoori Spice, or Tandoori Rub.

A masala is a mixture of spices. Garam Masala comes from the Hindi: garam meaning "hot" and masala referring to a mixture of spices. It is a blend of ground spices common in North Indian and other South Asian cuisines. It is used alone or with other seasonings. The word garam refers to "heat" in the Ayurvedic sense of the word, meaning "to heat the body" since these spices, in the Ayurvedic system of medicine, elevate body temperature.

The primary characteristic of a Tandoori dish is the smoky flavor that comes from cooking in a clay oven or Tandoor. This style of cooking is found in the Indian, Pakistani and Afghan regions. As with most masalas and curries of this area, the recipes vary from village to village as well as from family to family.

Our Tandoori is a classic masala that is hand-blended from paprika, cumin, coriander, sea salt, cinnamon, black pepper, sugar, ginger, superior saffron, and cayenne pepper.

Click here for Tandoori Chicken recipe.

Chinese Five Spice

The exact origins of Chinese Five Spice are unknown. Many believe that this mixture was originally created to become the perfect spice blend, as it incorporates the five basic flavors of Chinese cooking — sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savory. The thought is that this is the Chinese way to incorporating ying and yang into cooking, as the heat of a dish is balanced by a corresponding cooling ingredient. Of course, it is also quite possible that it was accidentally stumbled upon by a cook who then recognized its ability to invigorate even the blandest dish. No matter which story is more correct, there is little doubt that Chinese Five Spice is special.

Chinese Five Spice works extremely well with fatty meats such as duck, goose, and pork. It also works well as a spice rub for chicken, duck, pork, and seafood or in red-cooking* recipes [also known as flavor-potting*]. Five Spice is popular in several Cantonese recipes for beef stew or roasted duck, as well as being used as a marinade for Vietnamese broiled chicken.

Chinese Five Spice is a very versatile spice blend that can be used in marinades for chicken, fish or seafood. It is also an excellent addition when combined with rice, vegetables and just about any meat to make a quick tasty stir fry. It might even be used as an ingredient in barbeque sauce.

Most Chinese home kitchens do not use this seasoning on a day-to-day basis, and it seems to be more popular in restaurants. In Hawaii, some restaurants have a shaker of this sitting next to the salt and pepper on each table.

Chinese Five Spice is dominated by the aroma and licorice flavor of star anise. There are also sweet notes of cloves and cinnamon followed by a bit of heat from the Sichuan peppercorns. These are all married together with the essence of ground fennel. Some recipes for Chinese Five Spice call for the ingredients in equal amounts, while others give greater weight to one or two of the spices to feature a different flavor profile.

Although highly aromatic, Chinese Five Spice is not particularly hot. The taste is, however, quite concentrated, so use it sparingly. Remember — You can always add if needed, but it us exceedingly difficult to take it out!

Be wary of lesser quality Chinese Five Spice blends that use black pepper or anise seed instead of Sichuan peppercorns and star anise. These ingredients are often substituted since they are less expensive, but the resultant flavor is not nearly as authentic or robust as our top quality Chinese Five Spice blend. You may also see some Chinese Five Spice blends with 7 or 8 ingredients. Curiously, that does not seem particularly authentic either.

*Footnote:  Red cooking, also called Chinese stewing, red stewing, red braising and flavour potting, is a slow braising Chinese cooking technique that imparts a red color to the prepared food. There are two types of red cooking:

hongshao : can be done in less than 20 minutes and usually does not require much water
lu : usually requires prolonged cooking of up to several hours and the items must be submerged in the cooking liquid.

Red cooking is popular throughout most of northern, eastern, and southeastern China. The name is derived from the dark red-brown color of the cooked items and its sauce. Soy sauce (usually a mix of light and dark soy sauce), fermented bean paste, red fermented tofu or caramelized sugar is commonly used to give an appetizing reddish brown hue and flavor to the items being cooked. Food coloring is sometimes added for a more intense red. Both lu and hongshao are forms of stewing or braising and are characterized by the use of soy sauce, Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing wine, huangjiu) and caramelized sugar. Whole spices (star anise, black cardamom (caoguo), cassia, and/or fennel seeds) or five-spice powder are crucial elements in these dishes but are used in moderation so that their flavors do not overwhelm the main ingredients. Red-cooked stews may be heavy in meat content or contain a variety of meats, vegetables, and hard-boiled eggs. Such dishes may be served hot or cold, and the sauce or stock is often re-used as master stock.



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