Raw Spice Bar is a monthly subscription program that sends small spice packs with a regional theme. You also receive recipes that show you how to use your spice blends.
This isn’t really “perfume” related but I think it applies to Perfume People. We tend to appreciate flavors as much as we do scents. Also, food, drinks and spices could easily be considered my “other hobby”. I included this subscription in my 2015 Gift Guide for Natural Beauties and there was an interest, so I thought I’d give you guys a more in-depth review.
I received November’s Ethiopian Spice Box that contained the following:
Mitmita is a hot spice blend with bird’s eye chili peppers, red chiles, cardamom, black peppercorns and garlic. The aroma of this one is predominately like boonie pepper, like “bitter hot”. It’s delicious and if you like “heat”, you’re going to love this.
Raw Spice Bar recommends using it with grilled meats and meat stews or as a substitute for hot sauce or Siracha.
Berbere is a smoky, spicy blend. It has dried chiles, sweet paprika, coriander, ginger, cardamom, fenugreek, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and black peppercorns. This one smells like skhug, an Israeli hot sauce. It’s like paprika and sweet red peppers with a cool cardamom with “warm spices”. The smokiness is not overwhelming, it oddly emphasizes the “sweetness”.
Raw Spice Bar recommends using it in stews or as a dry rub on poultry or vegetables. I want to use it on falafel and hummus.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Raw Spice Bar claims that this one is different than other pumpkin pie spice blends. But, looking at the list, it looks like a pumpkin pie spice blend to me. It has cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, mace, star anise and “spices”. It’s aroma is predominately cinnamon with the licorice-like aroma of star anise. Hey, if it were a perfume, I’d totally wear it!
They say to sprinkle it over squash or on yogurt. Put it in your coffee or use it in your baked goods. I was a little disappointed to see this in the trio, but you know, it makes sense. It came out in November and people just sort of expect stuff like this. I guess it’s there to make the subscription feel more “approachable”. Or something. I usually mix up my own “pumpkin spice blend” so it’s nice to see someone else’s interpretation. And I didn’t have anything like this, so I’m actually happy I have it.
The recipes they included with the November subscription included: Key Wat (a spicy beef stew), Berebere Roasted Carrots & Fennel and Pumpkin Pie Spice Dabo Kolo (a honey ricotta dessert that looks amazing). I think these were all great recipes for late fall.
One a side note, the November box had me missing Seattle big time. I realized that I haven’t had Ethiopian or Eritrean food since moving. Like all I want is injera right now.
The spices come in a recyclable envelope and a printed copy of the recipes. The packaging is simple but really sturdy.
Overall, here’s what I think (of course, I’ve only sampled one month):
Packs of spices are small. But, I think they are very comparable and fairly priced for their size. Also, the entire point of this service is that you use them up during the month.
The packs are not reusable meaning that they do not seal after opening. They are designed for the included recipes, but of course not all the recipes will appeal to people. Pro tip – Potatoes take a liking to all spices 🙂 Once they’re opened, you’ll have to find a way to store the spices either in a jar or a small baggie, etc. However, the goal with them is that you’ll use them up quickly and you won’t be hording little packets of spices in your cabinet.
If you love on of these and use it up, I can’t find a place to repurchase it. It’s more of an introduction to a spice blend. I mean, this is a “monthly service” instead of a spice shop. If you find yourself liking a blend, I’m sure you can find something like it in person or online.
The spices are ground. To some, this is a pro. For me, this is a con. We like to ground our own, but in this context. It’s OK. They say it’s “fresher than the supermarket” and yes, it is, I guess. But, I’m used to buying stuff fresh (World Spice in Seattle) and all the ones in NYC (like Kalustyan’s).
Certain allergies. Sooo…no nuts are included in the blends but the spice blends are made in a facility that works with wheat, nuts, eggs, meat, fish and dairy products. Now this isn’t a “con” to me but keep this in mind if you do have these allergies.
I think the price is very fair for what it is.
The spices are high quality. I will say that I’m a spice snob and these meet my requirements. There are no fillers, they smell great, etc.
The diversity of flavors. This isn’t the “usual” for a lot of people (I’m guessing, not making assumptions about how you cook) so it could expand your palate. The recipes included look great and are created with chefs and experts in each region’s cuisine.
Availability. I often take for granted that I can get whatever I want at a market. This isn’t the case for people in more remote locations or in certain parts of the country.
Free shipping! It’s a nice little surprise in your mailbox each month that’s cheaper than a bottle of craft beer.
I was sent a subscription for review and I decided to buy subscriptions on my own because that’s how much I like it. I’ve also talked all my friends into buying it and they can’t wait for their December subscription. And I can’t wait either. I highly recommend it. The price is low and it reminds me of much I love to cook (sadly, I’ve forgotten this since moving).
I actually got sad when I looked at their previous monthly collections. I want all of it! Hopefully, all the ones in the future will be just as interesting. I think they will be.
Raw Spice Bar is $6 a month, $36 for 6 months or $66 for a year. More info at Raw Spice Bar.
*First image is from the brand, the others are mine. A November sub was provided by the brand. Post contains an affiliate link. Thanks!