CulturallyOurs Unique Spices To Try Espelette

5 Unique Spices To Try For Your Holiday Meal

CulturallyOurs Unique Spices To Try Espelette

From Thanksgiving in the west to Diwali in the East, the holiday season is an enchanting display of cultural diversity.

Early fall – the gentleness of a cool breeze grazes our cheekbones, and our paths become once again laden with patches of shriveled up leaves and scaly twigs. The tall order of preparing dinner arrangements whilst grooming children to be on their best behavior has finally commenced, and what used to be filled with long sing-alongs in the car has now been replaced with long hold times for orders and endless scrolling through social media, eagerly searching for holiday meal items that are out of the norm and highly photogenic.CulturallyOurs Unique Spices To Try This SeasonAlmost everyone has a love affair with the rush of the holidays— specifically, the variety of food items from the local markets. In true fashion, the aisles and side marquees are all lined with delicacies attempting to attract those interested in unique goodies and culinary masterpieces. Ingredients for traditional holiday favorites such as Duk Guk (Tteokguk- Rice Cake Soup) from South Korea and Christtollen (Christmas Stollen- Powdered Sugar Sweet Bread) from Germany are stocked in large quantities, and for the first time in months, you’re able to find a decent catch of Herring that’ll accommodate 12 or more people at a somewhat reasonable price point.

And while in the throws of all of your holiday purchases, you are secretly still on the hunt for that wow factor. Some thing, or some dish rather, that’ll not only have a gasping whip appeal but whose aromatic savoriness leaves such a lasting impression that it’ll forever be thought of as your signature meal. Enter into the world of spices.

Spices are usually the catalyst for such compliments, and venturing off the beaten track can sometimes refresh even the most antiquated holiday platters. Here are some unconventional ones to try for an added element of cultural flavor to your holiday meal.

#1 Espelette Pepper

Take, for example, Espelette Pepper, aka Piment D’espelette (or Sel au piment d’Espelette). Native to the Basque region of France, this hot chile pepper creates a spice oozing with sweet goat cheese, beautifully complimenting both oyster dressings and other seafood meal items traditionally eaten in a Réveillon- a French Christmas custom. Usually cultivated during spring, farmers begin testing its potency around mid to late August, just in time to package and send off for the holiday rush.CulturallyOurs Unique Spices To Try EspeletteFor modern cuisine, Espelette is strung, dehydrated, and later ground, resulting in a fine sand-like consistency that replaces traditionally white and black pepper in meat and fish dishes. Recommended to pair with a citrusy salmon dish or a baked mango crab dip to complement the heat and acidic components.

#2 Lovage

Venturing East to Southeast Asia, where the Philippines enjoy Paso, or Christmas, alongside a feast of Rellenong Manok, which is a large citrus-marinated whole chicken, Espelette Pepper would pair perfectly well. However, fresh, dried Lovage would season this dish to perfection and garner considerable attention from your guests. Native to Europe with deep roots in Asian cuisine, Lovage has oregano’s tanginess, yet with a special mild celery flavoring. Because Rellenong Manok infuses soy sauce, Spanish chorizo, and Calamansi juices within the stuffing, Lovage delivers the added benefit of warmth and a mild salt complexity that feeds off the cheese and breadcrumbs as well. CulturallyOurs Unique Spices To Try LovageAnd should you be new to Calamansi juice, it is a blend of citrus juices such as lime, orange, and lemon commonly used in native pork and fish dishes.

#3 Barberry

Delicacies such as Christstollen and Lebkuchen are traditional holiday staples in Germany. And with almond and cardamon pairings found in many items, adding Barberry for a sweet, berry flavoring would be the juice needed to whip up an unforgettable experience. Barberry is a spice native to southern Europe and Western Asia and traditionally incorporated into rice and lamb dishes due to its amazing pairing to fennel and cardamon spices.CulturallyOurs Unique Spices To Try BarberryHere, Barberry could be ground down to a paste and used as a dip or molded into a syrup and then drizzled over baked goods or infused in pork and herb dishes. However, it is stated that Barberry’s shelf life is regrettably short, and its ability to turn sour within a matter of days makes it suitable for same-day cooking.

#4 Galangal

Noche Buena is a highly regarded holiday tradition in Cuba and loosely translates to Christmas Eve in English. Here, Cubans ring in the day with epicurean delights such as Lechon Asado, Buñuelos, and Yucca con Mojo and top them off with local Eggnog and liqueur blends. Heavily infusing citrus, garlic, sugars, and root vegetable spices into their cuisines, pairing the fragrant Galangal- which is a close relative to ginger- would be a nice touch to the traditional Caribbean cuisines. Galangal is native to Indonesia; however, it has such a sweet, peppery taste that blending it with citrus and sweet fruits wets the palette with a remarkably long-lasting peppery aroma. CulturallyOurs Unique Spices To Try GalangalThe only downside is that Galangal is hard to find in traditional stores, so a trip to the local farmer’s market should be your starting point.

#5 Juniper

Further North in the United States of America, where glazed spiraled ham and cornbread dressings are coupled with buttered breads and gooey macaroni and cheese, no other spice can beautifully incorporate into the gamut of holiday dishes quite like fresh Juniper. Harvested predominately during the fall season, Juniper is a spice that adds just a touch of sweetness to smoked meats and side dishes without much work required. Juniper originates from the Juniper shrub, so subtle hints of pine can be noticed on the palette as well as wafting through the air.CulturallyOurs Unique Spices To Try JuniperThe Juniper berry is the most common part used, and whether you choose to slice it open or simply toss it into a red wine reduction, the sharpness of the spice flavoring cannot be missed. Great as a glaze or blended into a side dish, Juniper has all the makings of holidays bundled within its branches.CulturallyOurs Unique Spices To Try This SeasonWhether you’re creating a dinner spread catered towards savory delights or a light Mediterranean fare, managing to incorporate any of these spices will revitalize your holiday spread and give your family and guests an experience to remember.

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Unique Spices From Around The World By CulturallyOurs

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