9 Spice Blends
Join us on a global culinary adventure from your kitchen with 9 of our salt-free travel-inspired spice blends. This curated box is the perfect gift for Father’s Day!
Tips for Success
- Clumping is normal as we don’t use anti caking agents or salt. If clumping occurs simply break apart with your hands before seasoning.
- Try not to pour spices out of the jar over a steaming pot or pan as the steam can get in the jar and cause further clumping.
- For maximum flavor make sure to use with salt.
Ground spices can burn quickly so make sure to use oil to help distribute the heat more evenly when making a rub.
- Mama Manje Haitian Blend
- Marrakesh Sitar Moroccan Blend
- Masa Mole Mexican Blend
- Mombacho Café Nicaraguan Blend
- Long-tail Sunset Thai Blend
- Porcini Paradiso Italian Blend
- California Love All Purpose Chile Blend
- Kissed by Binchotan Japanese Chile Blend
- Ancient Halaby Middle Eastern Chile Blend
Once upon a time in Haiti, on a trip with Every Mother Counts, the non-profit making maternity safe for moms everywhere, I was welcomed into a bustling kitchen of joyful female cooks. Big pots were steaming on small propane burners, fires were crackling under makeshift grills and the air was fragrant with epís—a Caribbean seasoning base akin to South American salsa verde, and mashed with a mortar and pestle just the same. Adding to the aromatic symphony was the te jenjam, or fresh ginger tea with cinnamon and star anise, I was drinking—a warm offering from one of the cooks. Mama Manje is my way of rekindling that fragrant afternoon in Haiti: I’ve combined those warming tea spices with traditional epís ingredients like habanero, onions, thyme and garlic to create a punchy, fresh-ground dry blend that gives jerk chicken a strong kick, crab butter a tropical flair and Chinese Five Spice a run for its money.
Once while wandering a medina in Marrakesh with my dad, a friendly stranger beckoned us down long flight of stairs to the bottom of a hammam, where he stoked the fires that heat the community bath. Buried under the ashes was a clay tangia, and we spent an indulgent afternoon sharing its braised lamb and apricots, fragrant with ras el hanout. While the foundation and philosophy of this signature North African seasoning is warmth and welcome—usually represented in cardamom, cumin, clove and cinnamon—each family makes its own enhancements. Our version includes orange peel and, in honor of our host, rose petals—this delicate floral note is the reason, he says, his food “tastes like love.” I use the blend as a dry rub for rack of lamb or grilled chicken skewers—the flavors always conjure that Moroccan memory, and the shimmery sound of a welcoming stranger strumming a sitar in the background.
From the long-simmered mole of rare chilies that I voraciously consumed at a hole-in-the-wall Oaxacan joint one morning in Mexico City—it’s still the best breakfast I’ve ever had—to the triumph of subtle complexity that is the 1,000-day mole madre at world-famous Pujol, time seems to be the secret to the sauce, the one true constant of full-flavored food. Masa Mole evokes the careful and heartfelt process of the traditional dish: toasted cinnamon and allspice add fragrance and warmth, and fire-roasted ancho, guajillo and chipotle chilies sneak around the back with a low-and-slow burn, leaving in their wake a thin wisp of smoke. This transportive blend deepens the flavor of classic Mexican dishes like carnitas with abuela levels of authenticity and gives south-of-the-border style to the all-American backyard barbecue.
In the dense cloud forest that hangs from Nicaragua’s Mombacho Volcano, coffee plants grow wildly, thriving in the cool mist. Back on the ground in the nearby city of Granada, cafes honor the hallowed crop with an impossibly smooth brew. In my memory, the tempting bouquet of coffee roast is entwined with the equally inviting aroma of zesty mojo-marinated pork sizzling on a streetside charcoal grill. Mombacho Café is a flashback in flavor form: A classic Latin American adobo seasoning—garlic, black pepper and oregano—blended with coffee and citrus peels for complexity that’s robust and slightly bitter. In its presence, dishes destined for caramelization—from roasted carrots to pork loin glazed with a reduction of apple cider and honey—are never the same again.
At nightfall, fisherman of Southern Thailand venture on long-tail boats for their daily catch, navigating the dark sea by constellations. Arriving back to shore, they proudly march their live haul into the cafes, where the customers’ singular selections are prepared by the chef. I savored two remarkable seafood dishes on that trip (spicy coconut curry lobster and fried fish with tamarind dipping sauce), and their indelible flavors inspired Long-Tail Sunset. Mixing this ambrosial blend of harder-to-find ingredients like tamarind, Thai chile and lemongrass with fresh aromatics and our Java turmeric makes quick work of yellow curry paste. A scant palmful added to a beer batter puts a Southeast Asian spin on quintessentially British fish and chips. And as a cocktail rimmer, it lingers lovingly on the lips long after the last drop.
According to Italian lore, porcini season is “three weeks after the first rain” or “when the grass is three inches high.” Alas, rare is the sight of fresh porcini in the lush and dewy wild, so I’ve created Porcini Paradiso, which attempts to capture the fleeting fungi season. While the miracle of a fresh porcini mushroom requires nothing more than olive oil, salt and the momentary kiss of a hot pan to coax its subtle notes of earth and forest, Porcini Paradiso forgoes the tender idyll for astonishingly robust flavor: The intense umami of the dried porcini powder from Italy is elevated by a piquant chorus of garlic, rosemary, mustard and Calabrian chile. Dusting it liberally, prime rib and other Sunday roasts have met their match, while sautéed vegetables bask in a rich savoriness didn’t know they were missing.
New Orleans gumbo and New Mexican posole were fixtures on the stove in my childhood home, perfuming the air with earthy cumin, sweet aromatics and freshly blistered chipotle or guajillo. These slow simmers were expressions of my father’s generosity—his ultimate satisfaction came from watching loved ones voraciously consume his creations. Whether my passion for cooking and sharing food comes from nature or nurture I may never know, but one thing’s for sure: These stewy, smoky flavors of the south and southwest—among our family’s favorite travel destinations—are inextricably linked to my West Coast upbringing. From popcorn dust to barbecue marinades to a smashing sofrito, California Love’s flavor notes rumble, but don’t tingle, despite the chiles—use it to add heartiness (and heart) to savory dishes.
Once in an alleyway izakaya in Tokyo, I took the bite of a lifetime from a beautifully blistered chicken skewer straight off the hibachi grill. While the flavor imparted from the smoldering white oak binchotan charcoal would have been a succulent miracle on its own, sprinkling a pinch—at the chef’s suggestion—of shichimi togarashi, a Japanese seven-spice wallop that garnishes everything from ramen to yakitori, was metamorphic. Kissed by Binchotan originated in that moment, and over time the blend has been fine-tuned to hit all the right notes: Togarashi for heat, a fruity tang from tangerine peel, nutty sesame seeds and the umami of roasted seaweed. Proven to transform any meat or vegetable licked by flames and give a simple bowl of rice flavor dimensions previously unknown, lightly dusting the powder on straight-from-the-skillet fried chicken is the future food obsession you didn’t know you had.
The sunkissed Aleppo pepper—also known was the halaby pepper—comes from my family’s native Syria. You’ll recognize the prized ingredient as the raisiny background of Ancient Halaby, which also combines other classic Middle Eastern spices like crimson-hued sumac, lemony and bright, plus the unmistakable earthiness of smoked paprika for a robust blend. As a 24-hour dry marinade for a roast leg of lamb, Ancient Halaby makes tantalizing shawarma to rival Lebanon’s legendary vertical spits. As a finishing spice for a traditional fattoush salad, it beams brightness and warmth onto the cool toss of crisp cucumbers, mint, scallions and parsley. And as a cocktail rimmer mixed with our crushed pink Peruvian salt sourced from the Andes, it gives a famous Baja-born libation—the margarita—blessings from age-old civilizations.
Are these blends salt free?
Yes! These blends are not only salt free but they are free of any preservatives, fillers or gluten. Please note our Marrakesh Sitar Blend has a touch of honey in it.
Are these blends certified organic?
Unfortunately we do not have any certifications at this time but most of our spices are organically grown and all of them are non gmo. Each ingredient can be traced back to its origin. Email email@example.com for any questions.