Monthly subscription services are…all…the…rage. I mean I can literally get a company to send me razors every month, a trunk full of high end clothing, and the latest video games all at a reasonable cost! I’d just like to extend a thank you to our robot overlords for making this awesome subscription based lifestyle possible. Okay back to our regular program.
So yeah subscription services are everywhere. RawSpiceBar is a monthly subscription service that works with chefs and spice experts to create amazing blends for their customers. Each month, you get a package that holds about 3 baggies full of different spices that fit into an over arching theme that the folks at RawSpiceBar have chosen that month.
The spices are sourced from all over the globe and are of high quality. I was thrilled to be asked to review this product, because I come from a long line of cooks who value the power of spices. My Mom will throw turmeric into everything. Saffron is always a major player in our rice, and did I mention sumac? It’s always on our kabobs. Spices can bring a ton of flavor to your dish without added calories, which is crucial in our new world where everyone is looking to lose a few pounds (*points finger at his self*).
The nice thing about this service is that it’s relatively cheap. With the whopping price tag of $6 per month you get to try a variety of spices and elevate your cooking to uncharted territories. Spices can literally make the difference between eating just a meal and eating a meal.
So my plan is to give you a review of the sorts each month of what I get in the package. This month’s “spice route” was Native American, specifically, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
New Mexican cuisine in itself is very unique to the rest of the southwest, and New Mexicans don’t always look kindly to their food being lumped in with the rest of “Tex-Mex” crowd. Traditional New Mexican cuisine is a blend of Native American, Mexican, and European cuisines.
In the spice package I received the following: Ground Chiles, Pozole Spices, Sumac & Herbs, and Juniper Berries Blend.
Ground Chiles: I was most hesitant to try these only because we’re not big on spicy foods in my house. But I was really presently surprised with these, they have a rich smokey flavor with a touch of heat. Not too much to burn your face off, just enough to say, “Hey I’ll get cha!” This was a blend of red chiles, specifically Ancho, Guajilo, and Arbol. These were really good and I incorporated them into a salsa that I was making. You could tell that you were not dealing with your run of the mill chiles.
Pozole Spices: First, when I saw this one I had to go run up to Grandpa Internet and ask him to tell me what Pozole even was. Pozole is a hearty stew comprised of hominy, meat, and other spices such as chiles. It’s a pre-Columbian dish, that was eaten by the Aztecs supposedly for special rituals. In this blend given to me, I had toasted cumin, coriander, and Mexican oregano. These are the key spices other than chile spices in a Pozole. Now I didn’t make a Pozole, but what I did use them for was to mix them into chimichurri sauce that I was preparing. It really added a sophisticated and robust flavor to my sauce that I normally would not have gotten.
Sumac & Herbs: This was a very interesting spice blend that I knew I was going to love. And has luck would have it, I did. Sumac has a lemony almost citrus flavor and pairs very well with red meat. This blend also included Mexican Oregano, Sage, Rosemary, Garlic, Fennel, Black Peppercorns, and Cinnamon. The blend was designed especially for Navajo flatbreads which are of cultural significance to the Navajo people. Since I don’t typically make bread, I used it on tri-tip steaks instead. Huminah Huminah Huminah the steaks were so good, and these spices went perfectly with them.
Juniper Berries Blend: This last blend has more of a dessert flare to it. This blend has almost a winter spice flavor to it, it goes really well with a mulled wine or spice dessert. The RawSpiceBar folks give you a recipe for poached apples using this spice blend. In the future I think I’d like to make a panna cotta or a cream based dessert using these flavors.
I used up all of these spices, other than the juniper blend, in one weekend. So yeah, they rocked.
January Rating: A