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We’re Bringing the Heat with Lots of Flavor!

VSpicery recently partnered with a fantastic hot sauce company out of New England, called The Spicy Shark, and we have some exciting new products to share with you! But first, we want to tell you a little about this company, and why, after 16 years of being a hot sauce free zone, we decided to add hot sauce to our shelves.

If you have been a customer of VSpicery for a while, you know that we love to find interesting and delicious new products every 6 to 12 months. We have had many hot sauce companies approach us, begging to have their products on our shelves. Every time, we share the samples with our taste testers to see if the products have what it takes, but honestly, none of them hit the mark. In case you haven’t noticed, hot sauce is EVERYWHERE! You can even find some varieties of bottled hot sauce in convenience stores. For us to stock any product, it has to be an incredible stand out product from a company that maintains the same level of quality that we maintain at the shop. That means no preservatives or additives, high quality ingredients, and big flavor. Many hot sauce companies focus so much on trying to attain new levels of flames on the tongue, that they miss out on providing full flavors that can actually be used on food to make it taste better, not just hot af. The market is so saturated with mediocre hot sauces that we really wanted to find products that stand out from the crowd. We finally found what we’ve been looking for, and we think you are going to love them just as much as we do.

The Spicy Shark founder, Gabe and his Baby Shark (Dino).

Here’s a little background on The Spicy Shark, their mission, why we love this little company and the folks who own it. After growing up working in the restaurant business, and then 17 years in the beer industry, Founder Shark Gabe was ready for a change. He figured if he could take his two biggest passions, spicy food and sharks, and turn that into a career, it would be a pretty fun life. With some family recipes, and help from his family and friends, he took the summer of 2018 to put together the blueprints for The Spicy Shark. The feeding frenzy began in February 2019!

Their mission is simple: To make the best tasting and unique spicy products using the best ingredients, to help preserve and improve the lives of our oceans’ sharks, and to have a lot of fun along the way.

The Spicy Shark uses fresh peppers, veggies and fruits to create their amazing flavors, and you can taste each ingredient in every bite. We started with a selection of products that we really loved, all with a nice heat level and lots of flavor. Here’s the list:

Hot Honey
The Spicy Shark Original Hot Honey is a special blend of 100% pure USA Clover, Alfalfa, and Goldenrod Grade A Honey. We steep the honey with a touch of Cinnamon and infuse it with Habanero to add some heat to the sweet. Delicious with biscuits, pancakes, waffles, warm desserts, pizza, ribs, fried chicken, scallops, cheese, marinades, and hot beverages. Medium Heat Level. Gluten-Free.

Hot Maple Syrup
The finest Grade A Dark Pure Maple Syrup available in the USA creates the base for this tasty syrup. This rich, flavorful syrup is then infused with ginger, and heat from the Habanero Pepper. This unique blend of Sweet & Heat can be used on a wide range of food and drink. Works well as a glaze, in sauces, and BBQ sauce. Use on meat, fish, poultry, desserts, pancakes or waffles, ice cream, coffee drinks, and cocktails. Medium Heat Level. Vegan and Gluten-Free.

Nurse Shark Jalapeno Hot Sauce
Nurse Sharks are mellow by nature, but large in size, and unlike most other sharks, smooth to the touch. Like the Nurse Shark, this green Jalapeno sauce has a mellow smooth heat, but huge flavor. Undertones of tomatillo, apple, and melon balance the heat from the Jalapeno and Poblano pepper for an approachable, but unforgettable taste. Delicious with tacos, nachos, eggs, chicken and sandwiches. Warm Heat Level. Vegan and Gluten-Free.

Wing Sauce
The Spicy Shark Original Wing Sauce is our Dairy Free twist on a traditional wing sauce. Sweet Red Peppers meet Spicy Cayenne Peppers, with a smooth vinegar and garlic bite. Use on chicken wings and veggies. Spicy Shark Wing Sauce makes a really great buffalo cauliflower dish, as well. Medium Heat Level. Vegan and Gluten-Free.

Smoked Maple Sriracha Sauce
The Spicy Shark Smoked Maple Sriracha is our twist on a traditional Sriracha. We balance smoked vegetables with garlic, fermented hot peppers, and a touch of maple syrup. This sauce is one of our favorites and is delicious on anything that you want to add a little heat and a whole lot of flavor. Mild Heat Level. Vegan and Gluten-Free.

Thresher Shark Chipotle Hot Sauce
The Thresher Shark is known for its long unique tail that it hunts with. This complex smokey sauce with notes of coffee and chocolate packs a thresher whip of chipotle smoke and heat. Delicious with fish, poultry, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, fajitas, add to salsa, grilled shrimp, nachos, and eggs. Warm Heat Level. Vegan and Gluten-Free.

Check them out, and let us know what you think by adding your review to the product’s page on this site. We are having a lot of fun finding different dishes to use these sauces on, and can’t get enough of them.

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Here’s to VSpicery’s 16th Anniversary, the New Year and a dinner full of love.

We hope the holidays were fabulous for you and your family. There was an astounding array of delicious flavors floating through our home, highlighted by my talented daughter’s beautiful creation – a sumptuous Buche de Noel (or Yule Log Cake).

We look forward to 2019 being a year of developing more flavor combinations and searching out new flavors to add to our collection so that you can add them to your pantry. We currently have about 35 of our own spice blends and rubs, 11 curries (Indian, African and Thai), and over 5 seasoned salt blends that we hand mix at our shop every week. In addition, we have over 150 different individual spices, Greek, Spanish and Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oils, delicious high quality vinegars, flavored mustards and locally harvested honey from Eden’s Nectar. We are committed to sourcing the freshest spices we can find, and bringing high quality herbs and spices to you without chemicals, preservatives or additives.

At VSpicery we are kicking up our heels and sending out many thanks. VSpicery will be celebrating the 16th year of providing our customers with great spices, seasonings, blends, and other delightful flavors to incorporate in their everyday cooking.

We started our business at a farmers’ market back in 2001 and after two years decided to take our business to the next step, opening our brick and mortar location. The doors opened on January 23rd and we have been at the same location ever since, right next to Alessi Bakery. Lots of great stories have been created and shared here. We have had celebrity chefs, local chefs, local football players, restaurateurs, gourmet cooks, and most importantly, our folks who just love to cook. They recognize the difference our spices and seasonings make on their plates.

To celebrate our anniversary on January 23rd, we are offering 20% off your total purchase from January 23rd – January 26th (excluding Eden’s Nectar products).

The 10th customer through the door on January 23rd will receive a bottle of something very special. We look forward to many more years of supplying the very best in seasonings for your kitchen.

COOKING CLASS

With February just around the corner, we all know what that means – Valentine’s Day. Oh, the pressure! The flowers, the candy, the reservations, and on and on… Well, we would like to take some of the stress off by offering a COOK FOR YOUR LOVE CLASS.

The Cook For Your Love Class will be a full dinner featuring a light appetizer, salad, two different entrees (beef & salmon) so that you can have a choice of what you would like to prepare, and accompanying sides. With Spicy Kym in the house, perhaps we’ll feature a delightful dessert as well.

Class is on February 9th starting at 4:00pm. Seating is limited to 8 individuals. Cost is $40.00 per person, so bring your appetite because this will be a full dining experience and lesson in food love. This class is by reservation only, please reserve your spot by February 5th by calling (813) 870-1133.

Eat well and enjoy the best 2019 has to bring. If you have resolved to explore some new flavors this year, VSpicery is here to help.

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Class is in Session

Cooking class can be so much fun! Pretty sure we have just as much fun, if not more, than our students. Classes at VSpicery are all about demonstrating how to create maximum flavor with minimum effort. We love to answer questions about cooking techniques, and regularly help our students and customers perfect everyday dishes that wow the diners around their family tables.

In our November cooking class, we had some tasty alternatives on the menu for holiday dishes, and the results were delicious. We began with a simple and flavorful salad that pairs beautifully with fall and winter menus. To make the salad we added granny smith apple chunks, sliced red onion, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and toasted coarsely chopped pecans to a bed of fresh romaine and arugula lettuce. The sharpness of the cheddar cheese nicely balances the tart apple flavor and nutty toasted pecans, making this salad a serious taste bud teaser.

Next, we made our maple orange dressing using our Maple Flakes, maple syrup, honey, Himalayan Pink Salt, Green Peppercorns, Apple Balsamic Vinegar and Seraphino Greek Organic Olive Oil. We developed this dressing for our previous salad class, and it has quickly become one of our favorites! Our dried maple flakes are key to giving this dressing a delightful maple kick. The orange juice brightens the dressing and balances the acidity of the vinegar really well. Once the ingredients are mixed together well, and emulsified with olive oil, it’s ready for serving.

Our class moved right along to the main course with Herbal Crust Turkey Thighs. VSpicery’s Herbal Crust Seasoning was developed specifically for roasted meats, including game meats like venison. This blend is perfect for your holiday bird, and the pan drippings make the best gravy we have ever made. We normally roast a whole turkey for our Thanksgiving meal, but using turkey thighs is just as tasty. Turkey thighs take less time to cook, are really flavorful and no carving is needed. All you need to do is lightly coat with olive oil (or any oil of your choice), add Herbal Crust Seasoning, and bake. We tend to prefer using bone-in, skin-on thighs, since roasting with the bone in gives much better flavor and the skin keeps the meat moist throughout the roasting process. After the turkey thighs were cooked, we took the bone out, and sliced each thigh into 3 nice sized chunks. You can serve it with or without the skin.

We rounded out the meal with some yummy side dishes that are super easy to make, healthy to eat, and diet friendly. If you haven’t tried Delicata Squash yet, you really should! Delicata Squash is low in calories, and has a thicker consistency than other squash varieties. This is the perfect alternative to high carb sides like mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. All you need to do is roast the squash in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast cut side down. Once cooked, scoop out the meat of the squash into a bowl and mash it up with our new blend, Sunny Soiree, some butter and a tiny splash of heavy cream, then season to taste with salt and pepper. You can also add a little goat cheese, if you want a creamy tang of flavor, but it’s entirely optional. This simple dish will quickly become a go to side for any meal.

For the final two sides, we made steamed green beans and roasted carrots. This may sound uninspired, but as usual, VSpicery takes the bland and unexciting to flavor heights that will make you crave these healthy veggies regularly.

After steaming the green beans, we made a simple warm vinaigrette for them. We used our Champagne Pear Vinegar, Yellow Mustard Powder, Shallots, Honey and Himalayan Pink salt. We poured the vinegar into a sauté pan on medium heat, and added the rest of the ingredients as it warmed up. When vinegar mix is just coming to a boil, remove the pan from heat, then pour the mixture over green beans just prior to serving.

The last side dish we made was Spiced Roasted Carrots. We started by quartering the whole carrot sticks, then tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and thyme. While the carrots were roasting, we softened some butter and stirred in cumin, coriander, turmeric, and aleppo pepper. Then, we tossed the roasted carrots in the spiced butter and transferred them to a serving platter. You can use cumin and coriander ground powder, but you get a deeper nuttier flavor if you lightly toast the whole seeds, then grind them down before adding to the butter mix. This carrot side dish also pairs really well with roasted meats, baked salmon and pork.

Last, but definitely not least, is the gravy! As mentioned above, the pan drippings from roasting the turkey with Herbal Crust Seasoning is what makes this so incredibly good. Just make gravy as you usually would by adding the pan drippings to a sauté pan over medium heat. Stir constantly, while thickening it with flour to your desired consistency. For this class, we used a gluten free flour to accommodate our student’s dietary restrictions, and it turned out great! We discovered how tasty this gravy is a few years ago while cooking a Thanksgiving feast for a catering client, and now we look forward to it every year. If you want to read more about it, check out our original Tasty Gravy blog post.

That’s it for this class menu! This meal can be ready in a fraction of the time that it normally takes to fill up your holiday table, and will work for just about any diet. Treat your family to a healthy, quick and incredibly delicious holiday meal this year. VSpicery is here to help you with all of your flavor needs. Keep an eye out for our next class offering! We try to schedule at least one public class a month. You can also book your own private demonstration. We just need 6 or more to put your group on our kitchen calendar. We can create a menu for your private class, or you can choose. Call us at the shop 813-870-1133 for more info.

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30 Days of Flavor: 03/03/11 – Honey

EdenNecHoneylasses

We will be discussing flavors this month in our “30 Days of Flavor” blog series. Every day this month, VSpicery will select a spice, seasoning, salt, etc., as the flavor of the day, giving you it’s history, flavor profile, and uses. We hope you enjoy these flavors and their unique stories.

Although honey is widely known as something to sweeten up your tea, it’s so much more than just a sweetener. Honey is a primary food source for bees that they store within wax honeycombs in the beehive, and it’s produced by regurgitating the nectar of the plants they pollinate. Honey flavors are varied, with delicate nuances drawn from the source of the nectar, and there are many different types and grades. Seasonal variations are the most notable, with a substantially different color and flavor resulting from the plants available for pollination during each season.

The history of humans and honey is considerable, and it has been used for drinks and in culinary applications for many centuries. Depictions of humans hunting for honey have been found in cave painting in Spain dating back at least 10,000 years, and honey was commonly used in ancient Egypt not only to sweeten food and beverages, but also to embalm the dead. Ancient Mayans commonly used honey produced by the stingless bee.

Various medical traditions turn to honey to help with ailments such as allergies, sinus problems, and healing due to its antiseptic and antibiotic properties. If you are using honey to help with allergy problems, it’s important to buy honey that is harvested from your local area, and from the same season of the year that you are taking it. This is because bees are pollinating and extracting nectar from the same trees and plants that are aggravating your allergies, and the honey produced has antihistamine properties that will give you the best results for helping with your allergies naturally.

At our VSpicery Flavor Shop in Tampa, we carry Eden’s Nectar honey that is harvested in Florida through the West Central Florida Beekeepers Coop. We carry all four seasons, plus Honeylasses (which is a blend of all 4 seasons, giving it a darker color and molasses-like flavor), Bee Pollen (very high in B vitamins and helps with reducing the signs of aging), raw honey combs, and honey granola.

Join us tomorrow for Paprika!