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Mad About Spices

  • The Spices of Morocco

    Agriculture, history and the Berbers (Morocco's earliest indigenous inhabitants), have all joined to produce one of the worlds greatest cuisines.

    Historically,North Africa was a stopping point on the spice trade route between Europe and the Far East. As a result, North African cooks adopted many spices into their cuisine. The freshness and variety of spices are crucial in North African cooking. People can buy freshly ground spices and fresh herbs in the souks (marketplaces lined with open-front stalls), typically found in the old quarters of cities. Sellers display great mounds of spices, creating a rainbow of colors and delicious array of smells. The markets also abound with fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, fish, fresh and dried fava beans and lentils, grains, and jars of olive oil. The souk is a feast for the eyes and nose. Continue reading

  • Za'atar Is Here

     

    Two months ago, we imported our first shipment of the pure za'atar herb from Israel, and we just can't say enough great things about this king of herbs. For years we have been planning on how we would blend za'atar in the traditional way, and now we have finally succeeded.

    Very often we were asked, what is za'atar? Is it a spice blend, a wild herb, a particular kind of dip or condiment?Za'atar is both a herb and a spice blend of ground sumac and toasted sesame seeds. It is a relative of the oregano family and native to the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean regions. The blends vary from region to region, but, generally, the flavor is herbal and nutty. Both herb and spice blend are very popular throughout the Middle East and the recipes for such prized mixtures were highly guarded secrets that weren't even shared with family and relatives. Continue reading

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