Fresh spices are important. I usually turn to places like Penzy’s and the Spice House for decent spices that haven’t been on the grocery store shelf for a year. The quality of products from these commercial vendors is reliable, and certainly acceptable for everyday use. If you’re looking for a special place with truly exceptional world-class spices, however, I recommend SA.VA. in Italy.
All of SA.VA.’s spices are flown to Italy from Madagascar. Most companies ship spices in (hot) boats. SA.VA. transports spices in climate controlled airplanes, so they are amazingly potent and fresh. It’s always a treat to sample some of SA.VA’s spices. Today I’ll look at six: pink peppercorns, coriander, dill, fenegreek, nutmeg, ground ginger, and voatsiperifery peppercorns. Here are my previous SA.VA. notes.
First up, these brilliantly colored pink peppercorns. Light and delicate kernels that have a crispy skin, not solid like black peppercorns. Intensely sweet, with a bright citrus flavor.
This coriander has a distinct, lemony aroma. The flavor has citrus and cedar notes. Beautiful whole seeds.
Dill seeds are used in breads, for pickling, and as a salad dressing. There is a sharp dill aroma, and the flavor has notes of caraway. It delivers a slight menthol tingle. The seeds a have a light, crispy texture.
Caramely, buttery aroma from this fenugreek really wallops you in the face. The deep golden seeds are slightly sweet, with butter and toffee flavors. It has been delicious in my curries and middle-eastern soups. Highly recommended.
This ginger has a delicate, sweet, and spicy aroma. It has a mild flavors, with an astringent note and very light heat. Great in pumpkin pies and seasoning for pork sausage.
Breakfast Sausage Seasoning (1.5 tablespoon per pound/500g): 1/4 tsp salt (add another ½ – 1 tsp to meat); ¼ T white pepper; ½ T sage; ½ t SA.VA. ginger; ¼ T SA.VA. nutmeg; ½ T thyme; ½ t marjoram, 5-10 small hot chilis (I used SA.VA.’s fantastic pili pili chiles).
Average sized nutmeg with a pungent aroma. Extremely oily inside, it forms a fine paste when grated. One seed yields around 1/3 – 1/2 tsp of grated nutmeg. I also used this in pumpkin pie and sausage seasoning (see recipee above). Highly recommended.
Voatsiperifery is a type of wild (not cultivated) peppercorn that grows exclusively in Madagascar. They only grow at the very top shoots of the pepper vines. The dried pepper retains its stem, which gives it a unique appearance. It tastes like black peppercorns. Low heat. Earthy, woody, slightly tangy.