(Update, 2/27: Going to look at a commercial rental kitchen today; it's almost certain that we'll take it, and once we do, the next step is getting the Dept. of Agriculture to come in and inspect our process, make sure everything's kosher. Once that happens, we're pretty much going live. So (fingers crossed) ... within a week.
So in a previous post or two, I mentioned that I had a super-awesome-for-me announcement coming up, and that it would be up this month for sure. And so here it is (sort of) -
A friend and I are starting a spice company. A super bad-ass spice company. Well, sort of a spice blend company, as opposed to just your ordinary, all-purpose 'We sell basil and thyme and black pepper and stuff,' company. See, we won't be selling thyme and black peppercorns and dried basil (though we're looking into dried Thai basil, since no one else seems to carry that). Our feeling is that you can get good quality 'regular' herbs and spices pretty much anywhere nowadays. Our focus is on unique and/or exotic/unusual stuff that you have to search high and low for, and maybe go through several different sources to get everything you want (like we've had to do in our own personal spice-buying ventures). Basically we're taking all of the flavors and spices and spice blends that we love to use in our own personal kitchens, and offering them for sale, in one convenient place, to other 'fellow seekers of the exotic.' Naturally, we came up with the idea after several beers. But it wasn't just the beer. We'd been snacking on some flatbread with store-bought Za'atar that we thought was pretty good, as well as a dried Zhug spice blend, that we also thought was pretty good. We decided to try and come up with our own version. And we did, and both of them were so, so much better than the stuff we'd paid money for that we just thought, 'We should just start our own spice company!' And so that's what we're doing.
Our standards are pretty high; we've bought plenty of different spices and spice blends from plenty of different companies. And while most are good, even our favorite companies offer some products that are, in our opinion, just plain mediocre. But that's just our opinion, right? Hell, maybe other people really like the stuff that we don't, and think it's just peachy. And that's fine. But our whole thing is that we won't carry anything that we don't absolutely love and think kicks ass. No, we don't expect everyone will love our stuff as much as we do; however, if someone were to say to us, 'Y'know, I really don't dig on your Za'atar that much, I've had better pre-packaged stuff from my local Ethnic Mart,' we honestly wouldn't be able to say, 'Yeah, so have we.' Bottom line: if we were selling beer, we sure as hell wouldn't be selling Bud Light. It may be one of the most popular beers in the U.S. (if not the most popular), so we might sell a ton of it, but we think it tastes like watered-down ass, so we just wouldn't carry it.
Here's some of what we plan to offer:
Zhug (aka Skhug) a Yemeni hot sauce/condiment (though ours, along with all our other stuff, is a dried spice version)
Jalapeño-Lime snack seasoning (hot and mild)
A Tostitos w/ Hint of Lime clone, based on the recipe I came up with years ago, but slightly different, and much better. (Also, better than the commercial variety.)
Ras el Hanout
...as well as some other various blends, both our own original ideas as well as more well-known standard flavors, like Jamaican Jerk. In addition to blends, we also plan on carrying more exotic single spices like Ethiopian Cardamom (Korarima), Szechuan peppercorns, Omani/Loomi, Sumac, etc.
Unfortunately, we're not quite official yet, so I can't announce the company name or URL, but soon. Target date for going live is Feb. 1st.
We're starting off small, so we've got a long road ahead of us, but we couldn't be more excited!