There are whole ingredients, there are fresh ingredients, and there are whole, fresh, organic, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance ingredients. We hope you can guess which ones we like. We also like to know everything about them, from their first days as a little spice shoot to the people that planted them in the first place. That’s why we visit the origin of the spices in each Third Street blend every year, just to cozy up to the farmers, their environments and the living standards of each location. (And yes, it is absolutely awful to travel to all these exotic places, smell buckets and buckets of fresh nutmeg and cardamom, and form new friendships the world over.)
Before our spices travel across land and ocean from places like India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Egypt and Trinidad, we make sure that the people we do business with are people that our customers would do business with, and that they’re well taken care of. But finding the best sources for our ingredients is just part of the fun of being in the spice business. Here’s a few more of our favorite things:
Cinnamon, a tree bark, is traditionally used to boost circulation and breathing, increase awareness, reduce fatigue and even as an aphrodisiac.
Black Pepper, another circulation booster, is also a good pal for boosting the metabolism, countering the chills and keeping the nerves in a balanced, healthy state. Attila the Hun – that darling – demanded pepper as ransom during the siege of Rome in AD 408.
Ginger, a steady stimulant for the circulatory and immune systems, has been used to treat such disparate conditions as impotence and motion sickness.
Nutmeg was used by ancient Arab physicians to treat kidney and lymph troubles. It’s also been used for centuries to ease sciatic pain (that’s the biggest nerve in your body, heading all the way from your lower back to your feet) and promote digestion.
Clove is a dentist’s best buddy when it comes to natural pain relief and general antiseptic needs. Or it was, until they realized we preferred to be knocked out entirely. Like pepper and ginger, clove is also used to increase the potency of herbal blends.
Cardamom, a natural mood elevator, is a popular favorite in both Indian and Chinese herbal healing traditions to benefit the lungs, kidneys and heart.
Star Anise is credited with a variety of properties within traditional Asian herbalism systems. Among them are applications as a cough remedy, a breath freshener, and even soothing relief for hernias.
Fennel had a star role in the royal herb gardens of medieval France and Germany, and is still widely used to treat laryngitis, as well as kidney and ocular complaints. (That’s your eyeballs. But don’t go sticking chai in your eyeballs.)