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Hello summer, our old friend!

That means Father’s Day is just around the corner. If your husband, dad or granddad is a grill master, he might appreciate a new flavor or two. That’s where VSpicery’s blends come in. VSpicery has a little something for just about anything you would want to throw on the grill, but will also work beautifully for inside cooking.

If you are grilling up hamburgers or hotdogs, you gotta try one of our splendid mustards. We offer Chipotle Honey Lime, Sweet Fire Ale, Smoky Onion Garlic, and our signature Roasted Garlic Champagne. Besides being the consummate condiment, these mustards can be used for salad dressings or marinades. Several customers have even taken a whole pork loin and coated it with Chipotle Honey Lime mustard, sealed it in a Ziploc bag and refrigerated it for a couple of days. It was then grilled it to porkfection.

You can toss potatoes with the Roasted Garlic Champagne mustard and roast them in the oven. Mix the Roasted Garlic Champagne mustard with tarragon vinegar and diced shallots for a delicious dressing on steamed green beans. We could go on and on, but you are the best guide for your own culinary adventure.

Something as simple and inexpensive as elevating salt and pepper can make a huge difference. We have a nice variety of various sea salts and peppercorns. Elevate your black pepper with our exclusive Lampong Peppercorn. Spicy, sharp with a pleasant heat level, it is truly a better black pepper.

Here’s what’s new at VSpicery:

VSpicery is launching our latest culinary blend this month! A delightful mixture of sea salt, herbs, garlic, smoky paprika, and other delicious spices, this new blend is fabulous on chicken and seafood. After much thought, we have christened it Fin & Feather Schmacker. Once you give it a try, you will be schmacking your lips from all that flavor!

A Black Olive Tapenade and a Green Olive Tapenade are new to our shelves, both bursting with flavor. The Black Olive really brightens up a regular tuna sandwich. Build a better sandwich with your favorite bread, tuna topped with your choice of tapenade, a touch of mayo, and crispy lettuce. Mix the Green Olive with sun dried tomatoes and olive oil and serve over pasta with freshly grated Romano cheese. Both are lovely additions to cheese and charcuterie boards.

Clearly, we can help you give a gift of flavor that will be enjoyed by all. So shop VSpicery and let your culinary adventure begin or continue.

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Salt Talk

VSpicery LOVES flavor. Whether chili powders or different cinnamon varieties (yes, there is a difference) VSpicery loves fresh, big and bold flavors. The same can be said about salts. We have a variety of 17 sea salts, 5 of which are VSpicery’s very own sea salt blends.

There is a difference in the flake and taste of each salt that we carry. For instance, we have two salts infused with activated charcoal to provide digestive and other health benefits, but they are vastly different.

Cyprus Black Lava is very salty at the front of your palate then finishes very smooth at the back of your palate. As you can see in the picture to the left, this salt forms in really cool looking pyramid crystals.

Hiwa Kai is a delightful tasting salt that is tossed in activated charcoal from coconut shells and versatile enough to use in pretty much anything. Although we don’t recommend putting it on rimmed drinks, as the charcoal can dust off and cast a shadow on the drink. As far as salts go, both Cyprus Black Lava and Hiwa Kai are good for you and have striking visual appeal for dramatic presentation.

Another Hawaiian sea salt is Alaea. Although they both are Hawaiian sea salts, Alaea is different from Hiwa Kai in that it is enriched with purified red alaea clay from the Hawaiian island of Kauai. This clay gives a slight mineral taste and is delicious when used with pork or other meats.

Pure Ocean Sea Salt is exactly what it purports to be. It has a clean, refreshing taste and is lovely to use as an every day salt. Delicious on everything, especially veggies, seafood, beef and poultry.

Our Black Truffle Salt is so flavorful! Italian sea salt is infused with real Italian black truffles to create a true truffle flavor. Perfect for popcorn, fries, potatoes, eggs, veggies, chicken, beef and more! Other salts in our array are Fleur de Sel, French Grey, Murray River, Himalayan Pink, and two smoked salts: Alderwood and Applewood.

One of the fun dinner games we play with our dining guests is to set various bowls of salt down the center of the table for them to try. Frequent diners can be seen separating the food on their plates and trying a bit of each salt to experience the subtle flavor differences each of the varieties imparts on the food. This is fun, interesting and educational. Note: I make sure to under salt the food when this game is played.

Intrigued by our wide variety of salts? Then do yourself a flavor and come on in to sample something new. Our extensive line of salts are also available right here on our salt page.

That’s it for this month. We hope our northern friends have finally thawed out and that Spring has sprung in their towns, while our locals are gearing up for Summer.

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30 Days of Flavor: 03/24/11 – The salt you SHOULD eat

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.

We are often asked about the difference between regular table salt (iodized salt) and the natural sea, glacial, and river salts that we carry. Iodized table salt is chemically washed and what is left is sodium chloride, which your body recognizes as foreign since this is an unnatural chemical form of salt. This leads to your body working very hard to try and metabolize it, triggering excess fluid in body tissue that can contribute to kidney or gallbladder stones, cellulite, arthritis and gout, as well as heart and blood pressure issues. Unfortunately, eight to ninety percent of the money that Americans spend on food is to buy processed foods that strictly used sodium chloride in preparation, then we add more salt at the table. No wonder there is such a health crisis happening here. However, with the slow food movement, everyone is starting to realize that we can eat healthy meals and control what goes into our bodies by seasoning our own food, instead of leaving it up to corporations that only focus on the bottom line in the cost of their food production. Today, we will be discussing the differences in the pink colored salts that we carry, which are all beautiful, loaded with minerals, and are all naturally occurring, hand-harvested salts.

Bolivian Rose Salt is hand harvested from the Andes Mountains in Bolivia. Ancient sea salt deposits were covered with volcanic lava creating a salt high in mineral content while protecting it from pollution. Savor a unique and pleasant flavor while roasting or grilling meats. Great for Prime Rib and Pork Loin. Also nice in baked goods, on chocolate, or fruit. We have it available in a refillable grinder or by ounce in a resealable container. Great to use as an alternative to table salt.

Himalayan Pink Salt has the highest mineral content of any natural salt. It has many nutritional health benefits and is also recognized to naturally detoxify your system. This salt began it’s process 250 million years ago, and has remained protected from pollution and impurities. Using Himalayan Pink Salt is a pure, healthy replacement for the usual chemically processed, artificial table salt. Ideal for use when roasting or grilling meat, chicken, fish, and is a wonderful compliment to desserts, especially chocolate. If you have a piece of dark chocolate that is a bit bitter, just sprinkle some of this salt on it and the salt will take the bitterness completely out of the flavor. We have it available in a refillable grinder or by ounce in a resealable container.

Murray River Flake Salt is one of our favorites. The greatest of Australia’s rivers is the Murray River, and it’s source of water is the snowy Australian Alps. The combination of the Murray-Darlin Basin’s low rainfall and high evaporation concentrates salt in the groundwater through a natural process. By utilizing these waters that have been laying dormant for many years, the environment is improved and this beautiful flake salt is produced. Murray River Flake Salt readily dissolves into your food with a mild salt flavor and mineral undertones. Perfect for finishing, roasting or baking. We have this salt available by the ounce.


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30 Days of Flavor: 03/18/11 – French Sea Salt

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.

Today we are going to take a look at two French salts that have gained popularity around the world and today are used in many kitchens, and for many different dishes. French sea salts are usually unrefined and contain more mineral content than it’s American counterpart, which is hand-harvested from the Atlantic Ocean. The harvesting is done by hand with only wooden tools, preserving the natural taste of the salt, they are ideal for most cooking application and to use as a table salt. We will be talking about Fleur de Sel and French Grey Sea Salt, which are harvested at the same time, where they scrape the Fleur de Sel from the top layer, leaving the wet French Grey Salt on the bottom layer.

French Grey salt is an unrefined sea salt that has a moist texture, usually from the Brittany region in France on the Atlantic coastline. The name comes from the salt’s naturally grey color obtained from minerals it absorbs from the clay lining of the salt ponds. This salt has a pleasant, natural ocean flavor that greatly compliments seafood dishes, like Paella, Linguine with Clam Sauce and Shellfish bakes, but is versatile enough to use for most other dishes. VSpicery has French Grey Sea Salt in a fine grind or course grind, and is of the best quality we can find.

Fleur de Sel translate to “Flower of Salt”, and is a premier finishing salt used by chefs worldwide. Using the traditional Celtic methods, it is harvested from the top of the salt ponds, comprised of young salt crystals naturally occurring from evaporation. Weather conditions have to be just right to produce this salt, and the process can be completed once a year only during the summer months. Known as the “caviar of salts” by chefs, true Fleur de Sel only comes from France’s Guérande region. Ideal for veggies, salads, and grilled meats, Fleur de Sel is also gaining popularity as a flavor twist to chocolates and desserts.

 

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30 Days of Flavor: 03/11/11 – Black Truffle Salt

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.

Black Truffle SaltVSpicery’s Black Truffle Salt begins with a finely ground Italian sea salt and is blended and infused with ground black truffles. The flavor is amazingly intense and works beautifully as a finishing salt for many dishes. The black truffles impart a pleasurable earthy flavor, which is delicious on eggs, beef, pork, chicken and vegetables, and you don’t need much to achieve awesome flavor.

Black truffles originated in France, in the Périgord region, and can only be found growing with oak trees. The majority of truffle production comes from Europe, with a small percentage coming from Australia, Croatia, and Slovenia. Production has diminished considerably in recent years from about 1,000 metric tons in the 1900’s to approximately 20 metric tons today.

January is the busiest month in France for truffles, and that is when the black truffles are at their most aromatic stage. Attempts at seeding truffles in hopes for mass production began over the past thirty years, and 80% of French truffles now come from fields specifically cultivated for truffles. Most local farmers don’t want mass production of truffles since it would drive the price down considerably for this prized culinary treat.

 

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30 Days of Flavor: 03/01/11 – Alderwood Smoked Salt

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.

The first day of flavor is dedicated to a flavorful salt, Alderwood Smoked Salt. Many of our customers have sampled Alderwood Smoked Salt at one of the outdoor markets, and became enamored after their first bite. One of our favorite uses is simple and delicious. Take an avocado, half it and discard the seed. Grind some Alderwood Smoked Salt and Special Peppercorn Blend, then drizzle some Lemon Oil over the top. The salt brings out the natural smokiness of the fruit making this quick side dish a quick family favorite. If you don’t have our wonderful Lemon Olive Oil, you can substitute a good regular Olive Oil and some fresh lemon juice.

Alderwood Smoked Salt originated in the Pacific Northwest and was perfected by the Native American Indians in that region. The Northwest tradition of smoking salmon and other meats with Northwest Red Alderwood has been a way of cooking for hundreds of years. Slowly smoked over real Alderwood logs, this Pacific sea salt has a very clean smoked flavor, with no additives or preservatives.

Alderwood Smoked Salt is equally delicious on meats as well as veggies. When using for grilled meats, season with all other flavors before grilling then salt with Alderwood Smoked Salt after the meat has been cooked. Use it to salt steamed or grilled vegetables, on salads, in rice or pastas, and it’s also a great addition to soups. Try a great alternative to a traditional leaf salad: dice an avocado, red onion and tomato. Mix together with Alderwood Smoked Salt, Special Peppercorn Blend, Barrel Aged (18 yr. old) Balsamic Vinegar and Mosto Olive Oil.