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The spice of life

I recently returned from a fantastic trip to India and was lucky enough to spend a few days on a spice plantation. As a chef, it was incredibly inspiring to see exactly where all the spices that we use everyday actually from and how they are produced.
Spices were among the first of many foods brought back to Europe from the east by Marco polo and encouraged the early voyages of Columbus and Vasco Da Gama, who succeeded in rounding the Cape of Good Hope and crossing the Indian Ocean to calicot on the coast of India.

THE KING OF SPICES

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Pepper is a condiment that has been salt's partner on Western tables for hundreds of years. It adds a flavour of its own to dishes, as well as enhancing the taste of other ingredients.
The use of peppercorns is so common these days; it’s hard to believe it was once so valuable that it was used as currency. Sailors on the first ships to carry them were required to have their pockets sewn closed to prevent them from squirreling away any of the precious cargo. We may well take it for granted today, but the vast majority of savoury dishes include peppercorns in some form and they are ranked as the third most added ingredient to recipes, with water and salt leading the race.