Mediterranean Herbs and Spices
With sun-baked olive groves and richly stocked deep blue waters, the lands of the Mediterranean have an abundant supply of natural ingredients.
Mediterranean ingredients often include fresh fish and seafood, such as monkfish, red mullet, anchovies and scallops, which are combined with garlic, olive oil, Mediterranean herbs, Mediterranean spices and sun-ripened vegetables to create a simple yet distinctively flavoured cuisine.
Renowned as being an exceptionally healthy diet, it is a cuisine containing a fantastic variety of sun-kissed Mediterranean ingredients, often enjoyed with a glass of fine red wine, cultivated in the many vineyards of this region.
Mediterranean herbs grow profusely in the countryside and are also cultivated. For visitors to these areas, one of the lasting memories will be the distinct scent of wild Mediterranean herbs, released underfoot as rocky footpaths are trodden.
Most kitchens will have bunches of Mediterranean herbs tied together, hanging up and drying out to be used during the winter months. Mediterranean herbs such as Basil and Oregano are particularly good in their dried form, adding intense flavours to sauces, pastas, casseroles, fish dishes, tomatoes, pizzas, chicken, meats and seafood.
Mediterranean spices are also integral to Mediterranean cuisine. Spanish Paprika is an essential ingredient of Catalonian Romesco sauce & Tortilla Sofrito and is available as either a hot paprika or a sweet, mild paprika. Additionally, smoked pimenton is a popular Mediterranean spice, Pimenton dulce being sultry whilst Pimenton picante is spicy, boasting an intense smoky flavour that enhances many dishes.
One of the most fascinating and most expensive Mediterranean spices is Saffron. These tiny, sought-after threads are actually the individually hand-picked stamen of crocuses, grown mainly on the La Mancha plateau in central Spain. Traded for thousands of years, saffron was believed to have medicinal qualities, but is nowadays more often used to flavour food and add vivid hues of crimson. Up to 200,000 flowers are required to make one kilogram of saffron threads, hence this Mediterranean spice being the most expensive spice in the world.
To help you achieve the unique flavour of Mediterranean ingredients in your cooking, we have created several authentic Mediterranean spice blends. Our Paella seasoning is a mix of pimenton dulce and wild Mediterranean herbs enabling the creation of stunningly authentic paella. Also available are two French spice blends, Quatre-épices and Spice Parisienne.
Other French ingredients include Sel gris, salt harvested from the French salt marshes, Fleur de sel, a salt for true connoisseurs and French lavender which is present in our Herbes de Provence, a classic Mediterranean herb mix.
Should you need any further information about Mediterranean ingredients, do get in contact and we’ll do our best to help you!