2020 has been a long and difficult year, but it has reminded us how grateful we are for our spice community. You have shown us how food and cooking can be powerful outlets for creativity, caring, and forming connections. We’ve shipped more fresh spices this year than ever before and hired more new people than at any other time in our 63-year history. We are honored and fortunate to be a part of your cooking experience and sincerely thank you for supporting us. Before we welcome a new year, let’s look back at some of the more flavorful highlights from 2020.
Most Popular Spices of 2020
1. Saigon Cinnamon
For half a century, Vietnamese cinnamon was extremely hard to find in the United States. Spicy and sweet, this cinnamon is our most popular varietal. Its high volatile oil content makes the bark extremely potent. Vietnamese cinnamon is fiery, rich, fragrant, and amazing with chocolate or in cinnamon rolls, where it can be the entire flavor. Our customers often tell us that this flavorful cinnamon has changed their lives.
2. Tellicherry Peppercorn
For millennia, these bold Indian peppercorns have been the gold standard for black pepper. Tellicherry peppercorns are in almost every kitchen worldwide. These extra large berries are left to ripen longer on the vine, maximizing their rich fruitiness and Tellicherry peppercorn flavor. Grinding whole peppercorns delivers the freshest flavor. We also offer this pepper in several different grind sizes, ground only in small batches.
3. Granulated Garlic
Garlic’s sharp flavor is the backbone of so many of our favorite recipes, particularly within Chinese, Italian, Indian, French, and Latin American cookery. Our USA-grown Granulated Garlic powder is a versatile weapon in the kitchen. Garlic has its greatest impact when it is dried and used as a spice, especially in dry rubs. Zest up those chicken breasts, hamburgers, bowls of popcorn and other recipes.
4. Ground Cumin Seed
Cumin's savory pungency has been essential in curries for thousands of years. Today, you can use our Ground Cumin spice as a key flavor in American chili and barbecue sauces, certain Swiss and Dutch cheeses, Mexican and Latin American cuisine often calls for generous amounts of freshly ground cumin seed. Add a teaspoon of cumin to your next batch of salsa or guacamole and you will not be disappointed.
5. Hungarian Sweet Paprika
This very high quality paprika from the Kalocsa region of Hungary bears the name Csemege, or Exquisite Delicacy. Hungarian sweet paprika is the paprika of choice for classic dishes like goulash, cabbage rolls, and stuffed bell peppers. It also makes a flavorful garnish for deviled eggs, potato or pasta salads, baked chicken or fish. This sweet and savory paprika is also popular for making barbecue rubs.
Most Popular Spice Blends of 2020
1. Back of the Yards Garlic Pepper Butcher’s Rub
If one flavor combination could represent The Spice House, it is this hard-working butcher's rub. Back of the Yards Garlic Pepper Butcher’s Rub, our most popular blend, is ideal for grilling, great in burgers, amazing with steaks, and perfect with fish or roasted potatoes. This spice blend takes inspiration from the many immigrant cooking traditions that grew out of Chicago's historic meatpacking district.
2. Lake Shore Drive Shallot & Herb Seasoning
To emulate the elegance and sophistication of Chicago’s famous Lake Shore Drive, we start with hand-grated freeze-dried shallots, powdered green peppercorns, and chives, while the garlic, onion, and salt give this blend an all-purpose versatility. This seasoning blend is perfect for whitefish, shrimp, tuna salad, or any other seafood. Stir into sour cream or yogurt for a quick vegetable dip or to marinate grilled vegetables.
3. Gateway to the North Maple Garlic Seasoning
One of our most popular blends, this seasoning is sweet, savory, and made with real Wisconsin maple sugar. Named after the maple industry hub of Marinette County, Gateway to the North compliments pork, baked beans, and sweet potatoes. Mixing this spice blend with some soy sauce and olive oil will make a delicious marinade for grilled salmon filet. Sprinkle it on bacon before putting it in the oven to have your mind blown!
4. Taco Seasoning
Work is hard. School is hard. Life is hard. Taco night, thank goodness, is easy. It starts with taco seasoning blended from mild chiles, tomato, garlic, onion, and our freshly ground spices. It thickens slowly as it simmers with your ground and browned meat. Just prepare your household’s taco assembly line and let the hungry help themselves. Mix this with sour cream for an amazing 7-layer taco dip.
5. Medium Chili Powder
Hailing from the American Southwest, chili powder is at the core of Tex-Mex cooking. Chili powder spelled with an “i” is the seasoning of choice for making a classic pot of chili con carne. It also makes for delicious taco meat, pots of beans, and enchilada sauce. Our chili powder is mixed in small batches from freshly ground dried chile peppers, paprika, ground cumin seed, dried garlic, and Mexican oregano.