Great spices can save you from a boring meal faster than you can say “Let’s get some take-out.”
That’s why I rely on artisans who specialize in spices to keep my pantry well-stocked and my home cooking varied, healthy, and delicious.
The Thiercelin family in France is a top specialist in aromatic plants and spices, condiments, and spice mixes they design. They supply the most prestigious French chefs for their creations as well as demanding consumers who use their products to enhance their meals at home.
And one of the secrets that French women use to make their everyday home cooking taste delicious is using a variety of high-quality spices to jazz up simple ingredients. In this way, they avoid the temptation to rely on processed food or take-out for meals.
Spice Hunters Since 1809:
The Thiercelin family was originally from the Gatinais region of France where they founded their company in 1809.
In my blog post on saffron, I mentioned that the Gatinais was one of the major French regions to produce the spice domestically hundreds of years ago. So it’s not surprising that the Thiercelin family started – and continues today -as a specialist in Safran. They are the oldest Safran trading house in the world.
From there they branched out to specialize in other spices and aromatic plants. They travel worldwide to uncover the highest quality herbs and spices which they then sell individually or in mixes they create. Today, at 210, this family-run firm supplies France’s most celebrated chefs with all things spices, aromatic plants, condiments, and products they develop to enhance recipes.
For example, I just purchased from them a beautiful bottle of organic rose water, made from a mix of Damas and Provence roses. I could use it for cosmetic purposes, but prefer to use it to flavor puddings and even give a floral note to my Earl Grey tea in the morning! The quality of the roses used in Thiercelin’s floral water is exceptional.
A Cut Above the Rest in Knowledge and Ethics
The family’s trademark is their knowledge, gained over two centuries, and applied to the selection and preparation of the best aromatic ingredients. It’s earned them several distinctions, reserved only for the best firms in France: one is “Maître Artisan” or “Master Artisan.”
Another is “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant” or roughly translated “Living Heritage Company,” which is discerned only to those companies with the most advanced level of know-how.
They’ve also earned
They adhere to charters between their suppliers in France and around the world so that what they buy represents a fair price for the producer. Another accord aims to maintain the continuity and quality of production over time by requiring the farmers to participate in preserving local know-how.
Their excellence permeates all levels of this 8th generation, family-run company: the service is impeccable, and the packages arrive beautifully wrapped.
What Products Does Thiercelin Sell?
Their main products center around natural aromatic plants and spices from around the world, starting with their original specialty, Safran. But they also specialize in vanilla pods, peppercorns, dried herbs, or anything you would need for Indian cuisine (I’ve just purchased a vegetarian cookbook of Indian cuisine, so I’m ordering several spices from them). They also have different types of cinnamon, and their special mixtures to use in all manner of cooking from pastry-making to barbecue or curries.
Often their mixtures are the result of archival research on herbs and spices used as far back as the Middle Ages. They’re known to reproduce a historical recipe and then give it a modern twist of their own. The last time I visited their shop in Paris (now closed), the salesperson mentioned he was doing research in France’s National Archives on Spanish cuisine during Moorish rule.
Then there are the organic floral waters (rose water or orange blossom water, anyone?), condiments such as oils and a variety of vinegars.
Spices Make Simple Ingredients Taste Extraordinary
Great spices can make a simple ingredient like a raw vegetable, or a chicken breast taste extraordinary: When pressed for time and out of ideas for dinner, I cook up chicken breasts sprinkled with Theircelin’s “1001 Nights Curry” for something quick, healthy, and special: This delicious spice mix has a long list of ingredients, and what makes it extra-special are the rose petals.
If you use high-quality spices or spice mixes in cooking, you’ll taste the difference.
I have six pepper mills in my kitchen in France, each with black or white peppercorns from different regions (Madagascar, Cambodia, Indonesia). I learned a while ago that there’s a world of difference between a low-quality black pepper (like what you find at your average restaurant), and high-quality black pepper that has aromas that vary according to its country of origin.
For example, grated carrots with good olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper from Madagascar taste terrific. This pepper, also called Voatsiperifery, adds notes of exotic wood to a simple carrot salad.
As one of Thiercelin’s clients commented on the comp
Discover beautiful flavors in simple cooking with extraordinary aromatic plants and spices. And save yourself from food boredom.
You can find Theircelin products on their French website, Thiercelin1809, at https://www.thiercelin1809.com
And now you: How do you use spices in your cooking at home? If so, where do you buy them? Leave a comment and let me know!
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Photo courtesy of Calum-Lewis at Unsplash.com