Historic & Culture
Historically, spices have been prized for their unique versatility and benefits. Apart from their medicinal uses and spiritual connectivity, exotic spices conjured up impressions of foreign places and sparked the imagination for further exploration.
One of the world’s most renowned homes of spice infused gastronomy is of course, India, having mastered the artistry and illustrating the power of spice in cuisine.
A commonly used spice is cardamom; a dried fruit of Elettaria cardamomum, belonging to the ginger family, it provides sweet, floral notes and stands in third place of the world’s most expensive spices. Saffron is also commonly found in India, originating in Kashmir and deriving from stigma of the crocus flower. Believed to be more valuable than gold, the spice is hand-cultivated in a painstaking process that consists of 200 hours of labour per pound of dehydrated saffron.
Indonesia homes a collection of small islands in Maluku, known as the “spice islands” for their influence on the spread of their own piquant ingredients into mainstream culinary practices. Spices such as galangal, nutmeg and ginger are natives, and the fusion of various spices is referred to as bumbu.
Traceable back to the very infancy of humanity and civilization, spices were used in Ancient Egypt (3500 BC) to add their vibrancy to colour palates, fabrics, and even hair.
A cure for vanity were cosmetics made using flamboyant pigments and a cunning imagination meant that the use also extended for embalming procedures.
The expediency of spices grew into an insatiable appetite that stretched and intertwined within divergent cultures from every corner.
The trading of spices ignited a reshaping of the world map, establishing a global communicative circuit through trade and a botanical economy, one which exceeded the value of gold and jewels during the mediaeval period.