Find of the Month: Spice Trekkers


Phillipe Ethne

They say you can’t tell ‘tone’ or ‘personality’ in an email, but in my correspondence with the lovely and spirited Ethné (one half of Montreal’s Spice Trekkers), I can tell you that I completely and totally felt the passion she and her husband Philippe have for their life’s work – bringing the world’s very best spices to us lucky Canadians. The married for 31 years twosome quite literally traverse the globe to source out authentic, aromatic, flavourful spices and bring them back to their Montreal shop (which has earned the distinction of being known as THE spice shop in town), as well as their online store.

Spice TrekkersIf you’ve ever sat down for what you hoped would be a tasty, flavour-packed meal and are woefully disappointed, the truth is, it probably comes down to your spices. Most people know that spices lose their potency in as little as a year, depending on how you store them and their original quality. But in  learning more about the spice trade while writing this post, it actually goes well beyond that. For one, starting with your spices in powder form allows crafty sellers to dilute their product with mix-ins that reduce the flavour power. In truth, good spices can garnish the same kind of fervor as good wine or good coffee – true connoisseurs of the kitchen, foodies, and really just those that appreciate a good meal will be able to smell and taste the powerful difference using fresh, whole spices makes in any dish.

Spice Trekkers Suppliers
So aside from me telling you that whole, quality spices are the way to go, how would one get into the spice game? As Ethné candidly explained to me, she and her equally globetrotting husband were both working as caterers, and were fed up by the terrible quality of what passes for ‘ethnic spices’ on the store shelves. They started hauling whole spices back on their travels and it eventually blossomed into their little spice empire in Québec – one that is currently building up steam and spreading across the nation. The happy couple have a good deal of accomplishments under their belt aside from their amazing shop – they’ve written a book (a second book that will also be available in English hits shelves this fall), starred in a TV series (with talks to do a second season, also in English), and their Spice Hunters box sets are frequently on back order. Beyond all the good they’re doing in Canada, they’re also working with suppliers in 20 different countries to create viable work for folks often living in developing regions.

Spice Trekkers Spice Blends

Now that we’ve covered all the superb back story of Spice Trekkers, let’s talk about the gifting goods. You can buy ‘loose’ spices (a term I use loosely) depending on what you need – shop by cuisine or spice types or just browse the mind-boggling selection until you find exactly what you need. The spices come whole, so you will need a mortar & pestle or a spice grinder to unlock ’em for most cooking purposes. The best part is, they also come in gift-ready, vintage-style tin cans that are well-sealed to lock in flavour and freshness for up to three years. If you know someone is craving a particular cuisine, stock up on a few spices to get them through a bout of homesickness, pregnancy cravings, or a simple love of a culture’s food. Most spices start at the $4 range so you can easily afford to stock up – especially when you consider the crazy-high comparable prices of banal grocery store equivalents.

Spice Trekkers Gift Sets
Alternatively, the Spice Kits do the guesswork for you and come in a range of sizes and prices. Collect them all over a period of time, or gift ones that best fit your giftee’s personal tastes. For example, if your husband or brother is a hunter, take an interest in HIS interests with the Hunter’s Spice Collection ($24) that features blends perfectly suited to season your big and small game or wildfowl. Maybe you’ve got an avid BBQer on your hands. The Grilling Spice Kit ($28) comes with six spices to ramp up the flavour of your favourite grilled meats, and makes a swell Father’s Day gift along with a pack of organic steaks or fresh fish fillets. If someone can’t kick a particular food craving, make sure their meals are sensational with one of Spice Trekkers amazing ethnic spice kits like the Masala Dhabba Spice Box ($35) filled with classic Indian spices. Spices, for the record, don’t necessarily mean spicy. We’re talking about the basics – including sea salt and pepper – and how much better they can make your food taste. If you’re shopping for a milder palette, try the Mediterranean Herb Blend Kit ($17) to season your favourite meat & side dishes.

Flavoured Tea KitIt’s worth mentioning that in their travels, Philippe and Ethné have also collected some pretty spectacular loose teas as a secondary line. If you’re shopping for a tea lover, try out any one of their exotic blends ($6+ each) or go for one of their tea kits ($30+ each) for an equally gift-worthy choice. Mother’s Day is just around the corner after all, and if mom’s got a taste for tea, these are absolutely lovely gifts that manage to combine Canadian pride with international flavour.

Spice Trekkers PrizesI really can’t say enough pleasant things about Spice Trekkers. Their website is wonderfully organized and provides a real guide to cooking with quality spices – I highly recommend the blog for some multi-culti insight to their travels and haute cuisine. I’m also psyched to be giving away not one, but three prizes this month. You could win one of the Spice Trekkers books + travel guides (which come with spices) as well as a Grilling Spice Kit in time for BBQ season, or just the Grilling Spice Kit on its own, or an All Purpose Kit which has the possibility of taking you through 80 different meal combinations. Interested? Here’s how to enter:

1) Leave a comment by May 31st with links back & names of TWO of the spices, spice kits, or teas you’re most excited to get your hands on. I’m not kidding when I’m asking for links – if you don’t have ’em, your entry won’t count, so have fun browsing!

2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around June 1st to select the winners, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.

3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province.

4) Bonus Entry #1: Check the Canadian Gift Guide every single day for the rest of the month – you’ll find bonus entry opportunities galore. 

5) Bonus Entry #2: Get helpful cooking tips & recipes by liking Spice Trekkers on Facebook. Leave a comment on their wall with why you love the brand and you’ll earn yourself a bonus entry. Just let me know your FB usernmae in the comments below and / or a link back to your FB comment.

Comments
85 Responses to “Find of the Month: Spice Trekkers”
  1. Debbie Bashford says:

    This is exactly what I need, I love spicy food but because of where I live and the fact that I am rather unschooled in the the use of them, their kits are what I need!! Definitely have to try these 2
    Indian 101 Spice Kit
    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/indian-101-spice-kit/

    Spices 101 Kit
    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/spices-101-kit/

  2. Debbie Bashford says:

    I liked and commented on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SpiceTrekkers/posts/584601594894584

  3. Annie Demill says:

    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/masala-dhabba-spice-box/ because I love Indian cooking and http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/oolong-tea/mint-oolong/ because I love a good mint tea.
    Liked on facebook and left a comment (fb name Annie Demill)
    For me, this is one of the best gifts you have posted!

  4. Sylvie says:

    I have giving a few of the spice kit as gift. They were extremely well received. I would love to have the Indian kits for my daughter who love indian food and is starting to cook at home. I would love the 101 herbs kit for my son, who just moved on his own. I have liked the facebook page of the Spice Trekkers. See my comments on Facebook under Sylvie Rozon.

  5. mousecat says:

    These are the ones that sounds the most intriguing to me: Green teas of the world kit http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/tea-kits/green-teas-of-the-world-kit/
    and, the Indian 101 Spice Kit http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/indian-101-spice-kit/

  6. kittypride says:

    I love spicy spices 😀 Didn’t see harissa listed but I’m sure it is on their list for the future 😀

    Paella Spices sound awesome!
    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spanish/paella-spices/

    Curry Masala
    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-blends/arvindas-curry-masala/

  7. cookie3 says:

    I’d love to try the oolong mint tea
    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/oolong-tea/mint-oolong/ &
    I’m really excited about the Madagascar vanilla pods
    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/others/extract-bottle-madagascar-vanilla/

  8. You’re right, this is a fab website. I’d choose the Indian 101 Spice Kit: http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/indian-101-spice-kit/ and the Spices 201 Kit: http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/spices-201-kit/

    This is making me quite hungry :0

  9. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    I’d love to try the grill spices kit, sound delicious and it’s the right season too – http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/grilling-spice-kit/. I also love Italian food so my next choice would be the mediterranean spice kit – http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/mediterranean-herb-blend-kit/.

  10. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    I’ve like them on FB and commented on their wall – Elizabeth Matthiesen

  11. I need some new spices

  12. Audrey Skinner says:

    I would love to get my hands on the CHAI TEA and THE GREEN TEAS OF THE WORLD BOX.
    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/shop-teas/

  13. Linda Peters says:

    would like to try the Christmas Spices Black Tea and A Flavored Tea Kit, thanks
    spicetrekkers.com/products-page/shop-teas/

  14. i love spices from all over the world

  15. vanessa foster says:

    I love all spices 🙂 grilling spice kit for sure!!!!! woohooo thanks

  16. I’m most excited about the Masala Dhabba Spice Box after learning about the healing powers in spices this is the blend I would purchase. http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/masala-dhabba-spice-box/
    Also excited aboth the Herbs 101 Kit http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/herbs-101-kit/

    Bonus https://www.facebook.com/SpiceTrekkers/posts/585743818113695

    Thank you CanadianGiftguide.com & Spice Trekkers for the chance to win 😉 My fingers are crossed xx Good luck all!!

  17. Lisa Marie Anctil says:

    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/moroccan/cinnamon-00000/ (The best cinnamon ever? Count me in! I love love love cinnamon! I also would be interested to taste the difference between this and conventional cinnamon!)
    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/curries-and-masalas-of-the-islands-kit/ (My boyfriend is from St. Lucia and he would be so impressed if I brought this home, I could make his countries national dishes! I love all of the spice kits and would be soooo happy to own any of them! (I am a HUGE HUGE spice girl!) But this kit really hits my boyfriends Island roots and I am in love! lol!)
    Thanks for the amazing opportunity!!

  18. I’d love to try the World Classic kits http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/world-classics-kit/
    because I love so many different world cuisines.
    I’d also love to try the Herbs from the hills of Provence http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/herb-blends/herbs-from-the-hills-of-provence/
    because I love anything that reminds me of France and the food there.
    I posted a comment on the Spice Trekkers Facebook page.

  19. Vicki says:

    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spanish/paella-spices/
    For some reason my son has been bugging me to make paella. This Paella spice blend would be of so much help.
    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spanish/andalusian-pinchos-spices/
    so I saw this Andalusian spice blend, while looking at the paella spices and thought, that would be great too, for summer barbeques

  20. Bay leaf sounds interesting to me. http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/herbs/moroccan-bay-leaf/.
    And I’m also a tea lover so the saffron white tea sounds Great!! http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/shop-teas/saffron-white-tea/,

  21. Edmond says:

    Pick me, pick me! Your next winner!!! Show me the money!!!
    Indian 101 Spice Kit
    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/indian-101-spice-kit/

    Spices 101 Kit
    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/spices-101-kit/

    . It would be a dream come true and means more to me than anyone else to win. Starving artist here desperately needs the prize to eat again. Winner, winnner. Chicken dinner. A life changing experience. Top of my bucket list. Thank you for the awesomeness, the contest, and generousity.

  22. Susan says:

    What an interesting couple and a fascinating career! I loved reading your post today.
    My choices are: Spice Hunters Favourite Spice Kit (http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/spice-hunters-favorites-spice-kit/) and the Spices 101 Kit (http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/spices-101-kit/). If I could choose a tea selection it would be the Szechuan Jasmine Green Tea (http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/shop-teas/szechuan-jasmine-green-tea/)

  23. CLC says:

    I have started taking Indian cooking class and love the infusion of flavours. So many of the spices are not part of my vast spice collection so I would love to include them.
    My first choice is the Indian spice kit 101
    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/indian-101-spice-kit/

    The Mediterranean kit would be another choice.
    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/mediterranean-herb-blend-kit/.

  24. Donnas says:

    I’d like the Little Italy Blend: http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/herb-blends/little-itlay-blend/

    And with summer on it’s way I’d also like the Grilling Spice Kit: http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/grilling-spice-kit/

  25. Melinda L. says:

    Hmmm there’s just so much awesome choices…

    First one would be Curries and Masalas of the Islands Kit because we love making curries from different countries – http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/curries-and-masalas-of-the-islands-kit/

    Second one would be Silk Road Chai – http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/black-tea/silk-road-chai/

  26. thomas rusinak says:

    spices from around the world!!neat!!!

  27. Laurie says:

    Wow! So many unique options… and to think that I’ve never seen this site because, I’m likely going to do an order. I’m obsessed with spices and teas.

    The Spices 201 Kit (http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/spices-201-kit/) and the World Spices (http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/world-classics-kit/) are my favourites, for sure, though it is hard to narrow it down.

  28. Laurie says:

    I’ve also posted on the Facebook page (/lsgfv)

  29. Alison K says:

    TWO of the spice kits & teas I’m most excited to get my hands on are their …
    Spices 101 Kit http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/spices-101-kit/ and
    Chai Masala (Arvinda’s) http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/herbal-tea/chai-masala-arvindas/

    Thanks

  30. Bex says:

    The ooling tea kit looks yummy: http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/oolong-tea/mint-oolong/ but my guy loves to BBQ so I wouldn’t say no to the grilling kit either: http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/grilling-spice-kit/

  31. julia g says:

    I have liked and commented on their facebook page as Julia Grant.

  32. Vanessa says:

    Love the variety in the kits! I’d pick:
    Spice Hunters Favorites Spice Kit http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/spice-hunters-favorites-spice-kit/
    and the Fisherman’s Spice Kit http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/fishermans-spice-kit/

  33. sarah p says:

    I like them on facebook, and left a comment, sarah perry

  34. dionisia says:

    I can’t wait to spice up my life.

  35. Brenda says:

    Liked spicetreekers on facebook (Brenda Tse) and commented:
    https://www.facebook.com/SpiceTrekkers?fref=ts

  36. I want to try this blend especially for the tex mex and lemon pepper YUMMY ! http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/all-purpose-blends/

    Summertime grilling says it all for wanting to try this kit http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/grilling-spice-kit/

  37. madmoosemama says:

    Kashmir Saffron & turmeric~!!

  38. Sara MacDonald says:

    Wow what a selection! I like the kits because I never know what goes with what!
    A good versatile BBQ http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-blends/staffs-bbq/
    and italian seasonings http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/herb-blends/little-itlay-blend/

    Yum!

  39. JaimeeM says:

    My 2 favorite spice kits :
    1)http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/spices-201-kit/

    2)http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/grilling-spice-kit/

    I also really like their selection of teas, but im more of a spice girl

  40. JaimeeM says:

    Commented on Spice Trekkers, Jaimee McAllister

  41. Claudine says:

    Celles que j’aimerais essayer: Route de la soie et Herbes Méditerranée… Quelle belle idée cadeau!.

  42. Lori P says:

    I adore spicy food so these are only 2 of the spice kits I’d be interested in:
    1) Curries and Masalas of the Islands Kit
    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/curries-and-masalas-of-the-islands-kit/
    2) Mexican Spice Kit
    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/mexican-spice-kit/

  43. There are so many great ones, but to start off I’m going to say: Silk Road Chai and Christmas Spices

  44. donyadonya says:

    My choice would be Saffron White Tea, so I could benefit from it helping me relax and sleep.

    http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/shop-teas/saffron-white-tea/

    I love pepper, so I have to pick the 8 peppers blend. A combination of countries.

    Those are my spicy picks for the days.

  45. Robert White says:

    Like all spices, especially HOT stuff. Like the grill spices kit, http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/grilling-spice-kit/ and the mediterranean spice kit – http://spicetrekkers.com/products-page/spice-kits/mediterranean-herb-blend-kit/.

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