Food & Drink Magazine

RawSpiceBar First Impressions

By Slowdownandsavor

Between my complete adoration for my monthly Boxycharm box, Michael’s Birchbox Man, my Influenster participation and our Dollar Shave Club subscriptions, it’s pretty safe to say that I am head over heals for those affordable monthly subscription services. I talk about them all the time, and yeah, I am absolutely crazy about them.

So when the lovely folks at RawSpiceBar contacted me asking to collaborate, I was all in. No questions asked. Except for maybe a few, but seriously, I had no hesitation. A monthly SPICE subscription?! Heck yeah!!!

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It was explained to me that this brand new company works with top chefs to create freshly ground, small-batch spice blends per month in order to enable us home-cooks and food enthusiasts to incorporate 3 unique, and global flavors into everyday cooking for only $6/month!

Each monthly spice box contains 2-3 ounces of spice blends, creating three dishes for serving 8-10. You will also receive kitchen-tested, detailed recipes and ideas for each spice blend you receive as well as a background on our monthly chef and spice blends every month.

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Their spice experts, many of whom are award winning chefs, bring you unique spice blends from the highest quality spices around the world, with an unprecedented focus on quality and flavor. Each spice of the month club subscription is a one-time purchase and can be purchased in increments of 3, 6 or 12 months.  

Can you see now why I was so excited? CAN YOU SEE?!?

So when my little bundle arrived in the mail, I couldn’t wait to dive right in and see what all was inside, and what part of the world they were focusing on this month. Upon opening the cardboard envelope, I reached in and pulled out the “box” for the month of January, which wasn’t a box at all, and it was February, but whatever. Sometimes you just can’t be too picky, right? And you have to throw them a bone, this is their VERY FIRST box too! Toot toot for early adaption! Anyway, the box wasn’t a box, but rather a pretty pink and gold envelope full of spices and recipe cards, as well as good-to-know information.

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The introduction card, as I am going to choose to call it, explains the monthly spicy journey that you are embarking on with RawSpiceBar, as well as providing you with a way to share your culinary adventures and experiences using RawSpiceBar with other enthusiasts through social media outlets. Cool.

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Inside the pink and gold pouch, I found myself face to face with the destination that January’s spice route was taking me, and that was to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to explore Native American flavors.

Through this card, I learned that New Mexican cuisine is way more than what I thought, and what I thought was just hatch chiles…. And I also thought it was a lot like what you’d find here in Texas. But what I learned is that true New Mexican cuisine incorporates Native American, Mexican and European influences, and yes, it does hold that New Mexican chile as it’s holy grail; one of its most celebrated characteristics. So I guess I was kinda-sorta right.

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The Chef: Freddie Bitsoie, a New Mexican based Navajo chef, master at weaving cultural and local flavors with his own twist, winner of the Native Chef Competition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum in 2013, featured on PBS Food with Lidia Bastianich, and has worked with Yale University, The College of Holy Cross and the Heard Museum

The Spices:

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  • Ground Chiles: Toasted and freshly ground red chiles including New Mexico, Ancho, Guajillo & Arbol create a medium hot powder that is complex, smoky and slightly fruity, with a touch of heat that mellows out while cooking.
  • Posole Spices: Toasted cumin and coriander plus freshly ground Mexican oregano are key spices for creating a Navajo inspired posole rojo in New Mexico.
  • Sumac & Herbs: A New Mexican herb blend of rosemary, Mexican sage, Mexican oregano, thyme and fennel plus black peppercorns, garlic, cinnamon and sumac provide an herby, peppery, spicy tanginess for our Navajo flatbreads.
  • Juniper Berries Blend: Incorporating the juniper berries used hundreds of years ago by Native Americans, our poached apples are infused with fruity red wine and star anise, cloves, allspice, cinnamon and orange zest

The Menu: Navajo Posole, Sumac Flatbreads and Juniper Apples

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Posole? What is this? I felt a bit lost, being that I am completely unfamiliar with ACTUAL New Mexican and Native American cuisine, so I was even MORE grateful for this little info card, chock full of useful knowledge.

Posole is apparently a ceremonial dish used for celebrating all of life’s blessings, and is this RawSpiceBar January Box’s star. It’s perfect for celebrating on a cold night. This centuries-old stew embraces ancient staple crops of corn and chiles, and while there’s probably as many variations as there are little old ladies and families, the traditional recipe RawSpiceBar and Chef Bitsoie provide incorporates easy to find ingredients across the U.S.

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The Sumac flatbread recipe will provide you with the perfect vessel to sop up the posole broth, and as it happens, the Navajo people took their flatbreads really seriously. So seriously that they said that a Navajo woman who couldn’t make a proper flatbread would remain unwed. Wow. Lucky for me, I’m already married, and apparently, the recipe they included for us home-cooks is fun and easy. Good.

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And evidently, juniper is actually considered sacred to some Native Americans, and is used as a protective charm, as well as in their cooking. So to include a bit of luck and protection to your dessert, they included the recipe for Juniper Apples.

So, how do they taste?

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Watch the video and find out!!!

 

So what do you think? Is a spice-based subscription service something that interests you? Please leave a comment below!!

I received this product free from rawspicebar.com in order to provide feedback. All opinions are 100% mine and 100% honest. 


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