2014 Gift Guide, Day Ten

December 3, 2014

So Spicy!

We all know a few people who obsess over hard-to-find cooking ingredients. They were eating Sichuan peppercorns years ago, regularly incorporate candlenuts into stews, and know every non-New-American restaurant in town. Their fever may seem showy to some, but to me its just a love of food, full tilt.

These friends are great to hang out with, but they’re frustrating to shop for. Until now. Tucked into the legendary Jean-Talon market in Montreal, Épices de Cru sells a head-spinningly exhaustive variety of spices. You’re guaranteed to find something that even the most rabid spice enthusiast still hasn’t added to her cupboard.

Check out dried goraka: a sweet-sour fruit used in South Indian and Sri Lankan curries. Since that hardly breaks the bank, throw in a bottle of DIY West Indian essence. Each bottle contains a few vanilla beans, mace, sapote, and tonka. All your friend has to do is fill it with rum. In two months, they’ll have a tantalizing alternative to pure vanilla extract. 

No less cool: a masala dhabba spice box. It comes with coriander, brown mustard seed, cumin, reshampatti pepper, fenugreek, turmeric and paprika, so next time your friend makes Indian food, they’ll have a few essentials right at hand. Pat yourself on the back if you can stop at three; this website doesn’t end. 

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