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Old 11-07-2005, 06:43 PM   #1
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Question National Spices


I am looking for a list of countries and spices/herbs that the country is known for.

I am planning a trip to Europe in the Spring of 2006 and I thought it would be interesting to try and find some spices to bring home from the countries that do them best.

If anyone knows of such a list or has any suggestions of items I might look for that would be most appreciated.



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Old 11-08-2005, 02:46 AM   #2
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I don't know of a list like you are looking for, but I do know that both Spices Etc. and Penzeys often have great descriptions of where their spices orginate.

And here's another interesting link I found Via Google: Spice Pages


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Old 11-08-2005, 02:48 AM   #3
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Well, the thing is: most of the spices used in European cooking are imported from more exotic climes!

For instance, in the UK we use lots of spices in puddings/desserts, such as ginger, allspice, nutmeg etc. Many of which grow in our former colonies around the world - and it was precisely because of those colonies that the spices became a fixture in our diet.

The immigration of many from the Indian sub-continent and Africa means that other spices were to become more commonplace.

Lots of herbs grow in the UK (cooler climate required for many of them).

I would think that you could find every spice you want in the USA....

NOW, if you mean - recipes from the different countries of Europe which contain spices.... I am sure you will be inundated with ideas
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:00 AM   #4
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A number of years ago we took a trip to my husband's paternal grandparents' homeland (Slovenia). What stood out the most was the use of capers and the pickeled green peppercorns. It's funny, because hubby has always loved capers, even though he was never exposed to them as a child (heck, go back 20 years and you'd never have found them on a grocery shelf in most places in the U.S.). They also used a lot more fresh herbs than you see in this country (I've always loved having a very active herb garden). The spices in the country varied a lot ... it is a small country, and Germanic food when you get near Austria, Italian food when you approach Italy, etc. But the capers and green peppercorns really stand out.
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:01 AM   #5
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Hi, FX. Here is one source I use:

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Old 11-08-2005, 08:22 AM   #6
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Capers are widely used in Maltese, Italian, Turkish, Lebanese and Greek cooking.

Claire - I am amazed to read that 20 years ago, capers would not have been widely available in the USA. I suppose because we have always been taught that the USA is a melting pot nation, it makes us expect that all the components/ingredients of both European and ME cooking would be available everywhere over there!
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:28 AM   #7
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Thumbs up Perfect

Originally Posted by TexasBlueHeron

Thanks, this is just the kind of thing I was looking for. Didn't think to use geographic in my searches.
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:31 AM   #8
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Twenty or more years ago, local ethnic markets carried ingredients essential to their clients' traditional home cooking. More recently, these items, capers included, are more readily available.

It's been interesting to watch as supermarkets add some of these "exotic" products to their inventory.

I recently stopped at the local Asian market to buy some lemon grass but they had none. The local supermarket had a small amount in their produce section!
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:36 AM   #9
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If you want to get a good laundry list of spices local to a country refer to this site:


It's a really good site to get an understanding of the pantry ingredients that would be local to a country.
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Old 11-08-2005, 09:32 AM   #10
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Katzer's spice dictionary is amazing.

Just to look helpful ;-) here is as very small list:

Spain: saffron, pimiento (sweet paprika), capers
Hungary: paprika - the key ingredient in goulash
France: Herbes de Provence (herb mix)

Edo, ergo sum
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