A Taste for Travel: Inspiring Spices From Around The World | Craig Travel

A Taste for Travel: Inspiring Spices From Around The World

Post date: Author:

With barbecue season upon us, our taste buds are tingling with pleasure for the flavours and aromas of spices from around the world! Throughout history, the exchange of spices and herbs via the Silk Roads has built a legacy of shared gastronomic heritage enjoyed all over the world today.  Along with the wonderful variety of exotic flavours, colours and aromas that made spices so valuable in ancient times, these ingredients further developed into knowledge and philosophies involving balanced healthy gastronomy.  The enrichment, pleasure and health these spices and herbs bring to our lives are a shared enjoyment common in different communities, helping to close gaps on cultural differences.

Today, we are certainly blessed with spices that are affordable and easily accessible but if the silent jars on our spice racks could talk, they would tell an intriguing story of a past when spices were a sign of wealth, a status symbol, and weren’t so easy to come by. Let’s dive a little deeper and learn more about the history of spices and herbs, they’re health benefits, and how they are used in some of our favourite countries we visit.  This will be sure to tempt our tastebuds for when we return to visit, and there's no passport required...yet!

As we dig deeper into the past, stories of the spice trade and the routes they travelled teach us about how spices connected ancient civilizations of Asia, Northeast Africa and Europe. These mysterious spices came from unseen lands and were protected as treasures, with a history shrouded not only in mystery and myth, but also riches, greed and tragedy.  With the arrival of spices from distant lands, many left home in search of them in far off lands, hoping to bring them home to flavour or preserve their food and for medicinal purposes. In different areas of the world, certain spices became more popular and in demand and gradually became a norm for that culture as a flavour enhancer. These articles allow us to discover in more detail how spices once became the treasures of kings, as much cherished and sought after as gold...

BBC | How Spices Changed The Ancient World: "In many ways, the history of globalisation is played out in the story of spices.  From tightly controlled origins, the international spice trade unrolled along routes by land and sea to connect much of the world.  Today, there is barely a country in the world where..."

UNESCO | What  Are The Spice Routes?: "The Spice Routes, also known as Maritime Silk Roads, is the name given to the network of sea routes that link the East with the West.  They stretch from the west coast of Japan, through the islands of Indonesia, around India to the lands of the Middle East..."

SMITH MEDIA | The Spice Trade: "The great explorers of the 15th and 16th Century dreamed of riches and were willing to risk everything to make their golden dreams come true.  The fabled Silk Road has been bustling with trading caravans for over a millennia..." Watch Video"

As the legend goes, spices led to the creation of vast empires and powerful cities. This knowledge reminds us that these simple pleasures should not be taken for granted. Unlike earlier times when monopolies dominated the spice trade, commerce in spice is now relatively decentralized. We can find great opportunities in our kitchens to celebrate history, but also our past adventures to intriguing destinations.  We can also whet our appetite for new ones with the adventures to come

We look forward to broadening our horizons soon as we journey together once again and create memories and spend quality time together enjoying intense and creative flavours in destination!  For the time being, let's satisfy our travel cravings until we can grab our passports and set out to savour the world's spices. Let's explore some of the world's spices and herbs and learn about how some of our favourite countries embrace their favourite spices as part of their tradition and culture…

India, the fabled land of spices, has always been a tempting prospect to traders and invaders alike.  Ayurveda is considered to be one of the world's oldest medical systems, a traditional system of age-old Indian medicine with a firm belief that "You are what you eat" so it's no surprise that Indian cuisine is known for its bold spices that also have great health benefits. Let's have a look at the heart and soul of Indian cuisine, providing a rainbow of colour, flavour and comfort to both humble and celebratory dishes. 

CAYENNE PEPPER | Add some heat to your dish with one of India's most commonly used spices and transform a mundane everyday-dish to a hot and spicy showstopper.  Not only super-spicy, this spice also has medicinal benefits that can help ease a headache, detox the body, and more...

CLOVES | Packed with an intense flavour and aroma, this spice derived from a flower bud is important in Indian biryani.  This one-pot meal of rice, meat, and aromatic spices is rich in flavour, grand in tradition, and elaborate enough to take centre stage at holidays and celebrations.  Try this recipe courtesy of Food Network...

GARAM MASALA (spice blend) | Recipes vary by region in India, but the fragrant powder boasts a mix of common spices such as pepper, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, and coriander, which lends depth and flavour to dishes. It has warmth and sweetness, heat, spiciness, a hint of floral undertones and can consist of as many as 32 spices...

CORIANDER | Definitely one of the most key aromatic and ground spices used in Indian cooking, coriander also has many surprising health benefits including helping to lower blood sugar, has immune-boosting antioxidants, may benefit heart health, may protect your skin and more...

Add India to your wish by emailing us here. Ready to book a future journey to taste and smell the flavours of India in destination?  We've got you covered...

A trip to Morocco is not complete without tempting your taste buds and expanding your palate with the tastes and treats of the region.  Morocco is famous for its spices.  The leaves, flavour, bark and tubers can do far more than aromatize.  They can also heal.  

SAFFRON | In the heart of a barron plateau at the edge of the Argan forest, Taliouine is famous for its excellent saffron.  Taliouine saffron has a high concentration of safranal and intense aroma with characteristic floral notes... 

GINGER | Wonderfully fragrant with a bit of heat, ginger is very important in Moroccan cuisine, showing up in countless dishes where it contributes substantial flavour but also contains remarkable anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It's definitely a wonder spice... 

RAS EL HANOUT (spice blend) | Ras el hanout is a versatile and beautifully fragrant Moroccan spice blend commonly used in Moroccan cuisine.  It often includes up to 40 different spices, and when mixed is aromatic, warm, sharp, and slightly pungent...

TUMERIC | Tumeric is present in many Moroccan dishes, this ancient orange-coloured spice imported from Southeast Asia has been an essential staple in Moroccan cuisine for centuries...

Add Morocco to your wish by emailing us here. Ready to book a future journey to taste and smell the flavours of Morocco in destination?  We've got you covered...

Iranian spices with their various aromas and colours and their different medicinal properties have been used for seasoning and flavouring Iranian food for centuries.  Spices are a part of every day life in Iran and the locals are very proud to be known to have some of the best spices in the world!  The spices liberally drenched in and on Persian food are dynamic, flavourful and aromatic.

CINNAMON | As the oldest spice in the world, cinnamon is loved for its sweet smell and appealing taste. It is a very popular flavouring agent of various Persian dishes.  Try these delicious recipes shared by Persian Mama, who has a great appreciation for good food made with fresh ingredients and spiced with love.  Click here...

SAFFRON | Watch this video to learn about a region in northern Iran that produces the world's most expensive spice. It's used in food to give a golden yellow colour and add its distinct flavour...

SUMAC | This tangy spice adds a big flavour punch... a wallop of tart, lemony, almost vinegar-like flavour that brightens your meal.  Discover why you should start cooking with sumac...

Add Iran to your wish by emailing us here.

More World Spices and Spice Blends 

Spice and herb mixes are essential to many cuisines around the world.  Bringing these blends into our own kitchens can lend authenticity to international dishes and provide creative inspiration to everyday cooking. Give some of these a try...

JAMAICA | Allspice - Profoundly aromatic, the small brownish seedlike fruits, more commonly known as berries, of a sharp piquancy followed by notes of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg...   

ETHIOPIA | Berbere - This Ethiopian spice blend is full of flavour and heat and is used in many different dishes, including Ehtiopia's national dish called doro wat (chicken stew)...  

JAPAN | Shichimi Togarashi - Sometimes referred to as the seven-spice powder, this spice blend is widely used in Japanese cuisine for imparting a nice smokey-sweet heat... 

CHINA | Chinese Five-Spice Powder - You'll love this powerful blend in way more than Chinese food. Learn about everything you need to know about Chinese five-spice powder...

MEXICO | Ricado Rojo - This spice blend features ingredients such as annatto seeds, garlic, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, pepper, allspice, salt, and cloves...

CANADA | Montreal Steak Seasoning - This spice rub provides heat and flavour to steaks, burgers and potatoes, and there are numerous variations throughout Canada.  But the origins will surprise you...

ITALY | Italian seasoning - What five herbs and spices make up Italian seasoning, and where did they originate?  Find out here...

FRANCE | Herbs de Provence - If you can't actually make it to Provence this summer, cooking up dishes filled with the flavours of Provence is the next best thing...

UNITED STATES | Dry Rub - The tapestry of life on the Mississippi continues bringing the confluence of cultures and history that both define and enhance our experience with a visit to this region.  In Memphis, the star of barbecue is unquestionably the dry rub.  Discover the history of the dry rub creation, and try a bold rub that delivers layers of flavour on your next barbecue occasion.  Spice it up!

CHILE | Merken - Want smoke but don't have a smoker?  Try this sleeper-hit spice mixture, made from smoked red chile dried by the indigenous Mapuche people in Chile... 

As world travellers, in a sense we are similar to the ancient explorers themselves, experiencing local spice pleasures and bringing them home to enrich our lives with flavour, colour and aroma.  These historical treasures also bring us back to the travel experience itself, allowing us to reminisce about our travel experiences.  We are changing tradition and culture in our homes one journey at a time! So next time you reach for an ingredient on your spice rack, take a moment to appreciate the history and tradition embodied in the little bottle of spice.  

Ready to start planning your next great adventure to taste the world?  Check out our Featured Journeys webpage for inspiration!

Research and writing by Yvonne Lyn/ Edited by Donna Rombough

Top