Fairtrade Spices

Investing in Fairtrade

The Fair Seas Spice Co., that’s pretty me and two other guys, have recently expanded our line-up Fairtrade certified Spices

Fairtrade Spices

Our Expanded line-up of 100% Fairtrade Certified Spices

Our newest collection, available in 6 convenient sizes, is the perfect gift for even the most ethical consumer out there.

While we source virtually all our spices from small-scale farmers and cooperatives, we are especially proud of our Fairtrade product line. Fairtrade International, a remarkable organization, has done an amazing job in bringing to the forefront the plight of small-scale farmers and producers across the developing world. Often times we forget exactly how our neatly packaged spices, teas, coffees, and clothing (just to name a few examples) found their way onto store shelves. In too many instances, the products we use, consume, and take for granted are the result of some form of exploitation. The Fairtrade stamp is a friendly reminder that as consumers we must always be conscious of purchases we make, and that we always have a choice.

Small Scale Farmer

Small-Scale Farmer in India. Picture by Melanie Hadida

Fairtrade International has relentlessly championed the cause of small-scale producers across the globe. Under the legacy which Fairtrade International has established, hardworking producers who would otherwise receive a pittance for their labour or goods are now receiving just and fair market wages. Along with fair wages, Fairtrade International also places a premium on community development. Buying Fairtrade is not a charitable act, rather it is a legitimate investment in a communities inherent potential.

As of mid-September, the Fair Seas Spice Co. will be launching an expanded 100% Fairtrade Certified Spice Collection. All 11 of our Fairtrade certified spices will be now be included.  Our newest collection, available in 6 convenient sizes, is the perfect gift for even the most ethical consumer out there.

Koshari

Koshari, Egypt’s National Dish

What can I say about Koshari, Egypt’s national dish? Koshari was a pillar of support during my first days in Cairo. This simple dish actually helped me come to terms with the fact that I had committed the next 6 months of my life to living in Egypt’s magnificent yet hectic capital city.

I’m no stranger to exotic travel, but no matter how many times I’ve settled in a strange and foreign land, the fusion of excitement and terror always hits me like a swift kick to the pants. My first few moments in Egypt were a case in point. I landed in the middle of the night at Cairo International Airport. Just beyond its slick sliding doors, the airports comforting modernity gave-way to a scene of utter chaos and confusion.

My taxi driver, who almost caused by death at least 4 times, brought me to my hotel in the Garden City district of Cairo. In search of adventure, I decided to stay at the storied Garden City House hotel. Back in the 1900’s, the Garden City House was a hotbed of activity catering to European Egyptologists and explorers. Today, while rundown, the hotel maintains a certain sense of old world charm along with absolutely no water pressure. The hotel was situated right near the now famous Tahrir Square (Freedom Square). Protests and politics aside, Tahrir Square is a crazy place even at the calmest of times. Amongst the throngs of people and oppressive heat, cars, trucks, busses, and scooters flow omnidirectionally (not even sure that’s an actual word) with no apparent rhyme or reason.

Jetlag and fatigue had gotten the best of me, it took me two days before I could muster the strength to go outside and face the elements; but I had little choice. I had to venture out in search of real Egyptian sustenance. I had been told that if I were to find any food during Ramadan it would be on the legendary Talat Harb Street. Problem was Tahrir Square stood between me and food. When I finally stepped out of the hotel it was barely 10am. The summer sun was merciless and the temperature was hovering around 47 degrees Celsius (that’s bloody hot in Fahrenheit). As I approached the madness of Tahrir, the temperature slowly began to rise amidst the thousands of Egyptian bystanders and heavy-metal emitting cars. Despite the abundance of traffic police, all of whom were either napping in the shade or drinking tea, I realized there was no safe way to cross the square. A crossing could be considered an act of blind faith. Taking my life in my hands, It took me no less than 15min to cover the roughly 200ft traverse. When I arrived at Talat Harb Street I was mentally exhausted, hungry, and on the verge of heatstroke. In my heat and stress induced haze, I stumbled upon what at that very moment would prove to be my salvation. It was a fast food joint called Felfela (they also have an awesome sit-down restaurant). I walked in and was immediately drawn to the man putting together a mix of rice, lentils, elbow macaroni, fried crispy onions, chickpeas, and some sort of tomato sauce.koshary He slapped everything together in less than 5 seconds, all the while maintaining a memorizing percussive beat with his metal spoons and metal pots.koshary guy I ordered up a serving to go and reluctantly began the treacherous and death defying journey across Tahrir and back to my hotel. Relieved to be back in the relative serenity of my room, I said to myself that there was no way in hell I would ever attempt that crazy again. With that in mind I began eating. After the first bite a sense of calm came over me. This had been the first time since my arrival in Cairo that I forgot about the chaos and confusion which surrounded me and focused solely on the koshari. Before I knew it my wonderful meal had been consumed in its entirety. Problem was I was still starving. I had two choices; stay hungry or go out and brave the streets of Cairo one more time. My stomach had already usurped my brains authority and demanded a second helping of Koshari. Without a thought I got up and left for a second serving, only this time it took me 5 minutes to make the crossing, and rather than exhaustion, I felt exhilaration. I may still have been a lightweight by local standards, but I knew right there and then that Cairo and I would get along just fine.

I’ve added a great video on how to prepare this dish. Between this and the recipe card you should be good to go.

If I may add a little epilogue to this story, I discovered a few days later that Tahrir Square benefited from underground walkways.

Giving bay leaves the props they deserve.

Finally someone gives Bay Leaves the props they deserve. Also included is a great Moroccan recipe using dried ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.

Plain and Simple

Bay leaves

An unsung hero from the herb clan that any braise or casserole worth its salt would be lost without. Yet rarely does this leaf receive a sliver of the attention it deserves – while pantries across the globe hoard them in packets and jars. Seldom appearing in the weekly shop, yet always managing to be on hand – the bay leaf, our culinary Winter herb.

It is not uncommon for stock of milk, butter or Milo to exhaust in this household, but bay leaves are forever in ready supply. Other than the fact that two are only ever required for a dish, my mother is the keeper of a bay tree and visits regularly. (We are therefore secure in the knowledge that should we fall on difficult economic times, we shall never be without them). She recently delivered a branch, which has been stripped of its foliage, which now sits drying in an open jar. It is…

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Myristica fragrans, otherwise known as Nutmeg Spice

Thought I would share a few interesting funfacts on one of my favourite spice. Coincidentally, our newest batch of nutmeg will be available for purchase as of friday on our website at www.fairseasspice.ca

Nutmeg, scientifically known as Myristica fragrans, is one of the most desired spices on earth. It is also one of the most expensive spices on earth; trust us on this one.  ImageNutmeg adds a touch of sweetness and pairs perfectly with to almost any dish your mind can conjure up. The result is the addition of tremendous depth and complexity to you cuisine. An essential component to the  béchamel sauce you so often make at home (we know you don’t, but it’s never too late to start), Nutmeg also compliments homemade sausage, meats, soups, and preserves. Nutmeg however is perhaps best known for its use in baking. Mixed with complimentary spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, your cakes and cookies will literally explode with flavour; as will your waistline with girth.

Nutmeg, once ground, quickly loses its potency. We suggest you buy it in small quantities, from us, and grate it fresh just prior to use.

On a less culinary note, nutmeg in large and concentrated quantities can yield effect similar to that of marijuana. We also sell Nutmeg in bulk, strictly for cooking of course, just saying.