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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Flavors of the World Cup

by Kara Elder

Welcome to Bazaar Spices' Flavors of the World Cup! Even if you're not obsessed with the World Cup, we hope you enjoyed our competition. Check back soon for a recipe featuring the winning ingredient, hops. 

June 12, 2014:

I’m sitting in my little Washington, D.C., apartment, listening to World Cup anthems from years past. I don’t even really care about sports, but there’s something about the World Cup and all the hype leading up to and during the event that captures even a non-sports fanatic like me. I’m already participating in two, count ‘em, two ESPN World Cup brackets, and I actually feel invested and included in this giant, global game.

And isn’t that the beauty of this competition? More than the World Series, more than the Super Bowl, and for me, even more than the Olympics – the World Cup truly captures the whole world, and even if your native country isn’t competing, you are almost certain to have some strong opinions about who makes it to the top.

So, in honor of the World Cup and the many countries facing off for the FIFA Trophy, Bazaar Spices presents Flavors of the World Cup: our own bracket of herbs, dried goods, and spices that will compete for worldwide domination - or, at the very least, flavorful bragging rights.

Can you guess why some seasonings or dried goods represent their countries? A few are easy (I'm looking at you, America, Spain, and Greece) but others....others are more of a stretch. Take a stab at guessing in the comments, or check back in a few days for a detailed break down of each product. 

In the meantime, oleeee ole ole ole! Let the games begin.

Update, June 16, 2014: Now that all the teams have played and some are even beginning to be knocked out of the tournament, I owe you an explanation for these World Cup flavors:

Brazil: Black Beans - Used in Latin American cooking in general, black beans are also a key ingredient in Feijoida, a traditional Brazilian stew.

Croatia: Mediterranean Herbs - Nestled on the Adriatic Sea, the foods of Croatia are commonly seasoned with typical Mediterranean herbs such as Basil, Bay Leaf, Marjoram, Rosemary, and Thyme. 

Mexico: Ancho Peppers - Anchos are dried poblano peppers, that beloved, slightly spicy green pepper used almost prolifically in Mexican cooking. Use the smoky, Ancho in stews, moles, and sauces. 

Cameroon: Millet flour - Millet is one of many staple foods eaten in Cameroon. Millet flour is slightly nutty and sweet, and even gluten free.


Spain: Smoked or Sweet Spanish Paprika - I think you can guess why these paprikas are for Spain, but did you know that our Smoked Spanish Paprika is roasted over an oak fire, giving it that signature deep, smoky flavor? It's amazing on everything. (But unfortunately for Spain, it won't be competing for the Flavor Cup.)

Netherlands: Buckwheat Flour - Another gluten free food, Buckwheat flour is the key ingredient in poffertjes, the Dutch version of pancakes made on dimpled cast iron pans (similar to the Danish ebleskiver). 

Chile: Epazote - Used across Latin America, epazote lends a slightly minty, peppery note to food, and is often used in bean dishes. It's a flavor that can't be replicated!

Australia: Eucalyptus Leaf - Not just for koalas! Native to Australia, eucalyptus might be best known for its warming qualities in treating skin irritations or chest congestion (think Vicks VapoRub!) 


Colombia: Pigeon Peas - Another bean used around Latin America and the Caribbean, pigeon peas are a key ingredient in Sopa de Guandú, a dish found along Colombia's Caribbean coast.

Greece: Greek Seasoning - Hopefully this isn't Greek to you. Bazaar Spice's Greek Seasoning has garlic powder, black pepper, salt, oregano, lemon oil, and marjoram for that traditional Greek taste. 

Côte d'Ivoire: Cocoa Powder - Côte d'Ivoire is one of the world's largest cocoa producers. Bazaar Spices has cacao nibs and Dutch processed, natural, and Watkins baking cocoa powder for all you chocoholics out there. 

Japan: Shichimi Togarashi - Also called seven spice blend, this extremely versatile Japanese staple has chili peppers, sesame seeds, dehydrated orange peel, poppy seeds, ginger, and seaweed. 


Uruguay: Tamarind Powder - This one, I admit, is a stretch. A delicious, delicious stretch. Allow me to introduce you to the Chivito, the national dish of Uruguay. It's a sandwich made of thinly sliced steak, mozzarella, tomatoes, mayonnaise, olives, fried or hard-boiled eggs, and ham. It might also include beets, peas, peppers, and slices of cucumber. "Yum, but what about the tamarind?" you may ask. Marinate that steak with tamarind powder, chile powder, salt, pepper, and oil, and you have one delicious Chivito. (If it's not clear by now, I'm rooting for Uruguay. I want a Chivito.)

Costa Rica: Annatto Seeds - Another ingredient found in many Latin American and Caribbean cuisines, Annatto seeds (also called Achiote) are mild, slightly peppery, and a bit earthy. 

England: Curry - Curry is a favorite (or should I say "favourite"?) all across the UK. Here at Bazaar Spices, we have several curry powders and blends from which to choose, ranging from mild to spicy, Sri Lankan to South Indian to Jamaican to Thai. 

Italy: Cannellini Beans - Popular in Italian cooking, the Cannellini, or white kidney bean, is slightly creamy and very versatile. Great in soups, salads, or mashed into a dip.


rland: Salts - Salt, much like the Swiss, gets along with everyone. (Jokes!) In all seriousness, Bazaar Spices has a lot of salt. We even had a salt tasting class. We really like our salt, and you should too.

Ecuador: Cinchona - The cinchona tree is the national tree of Ecuador, and it's also the key ingredient in tonic (it's full of health-boosting quinine!). The next time you enjoy a refreshing gin and tonic, make a cheers to Ecuador. 

France: Flageolet Beans - Buttery and creamy, flageolet beans are tiny, immature haricot beans. They are a French classic served with roast or braised lamb. Or, since they hold their shape well, try them in salads!

Honduras: Red Beans - Yet another versatile staple throughout Latin America, red beans are also found in Honduran Sopa de Frijoles, a bean soup usually made with smaller red beans, but also great with Bazaar Spices' Red Kidney Beans. 


Argentina: Coconut - Put the cookie in the coconut with Argentinian Alfajores, buttery sandwich cookies with a layer of dulce de leche and rolled in shredded coconut.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: DIY Vegeta - Invented by Bosnian Croat scientist Zlata Bartl, Vegeta is a seasoning blend used all over the Balkans, but especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mix up your own batch with Bazaar Spices' parsley, minced onion, celery salt, and turmeric as a base, and add other spices to taste for your own custom Vegeta blend. 

Iran: Sumac - Yes, there is a variety of poisonous sumac, and no, Bazaar Spices does not sell it. A spice most often used in the Middle East, sumac is tart, lemony, bright, and extremely versatile. Try it on fish, chicken, salad dressings, or sprinkled on dips.

Nigeria: Ginger - Popular in West African cuisine, ginger is often used in cooking and to make a refreshing drink similar to ginger beer. 


Germany: Hops - The first documentation of hop cultivation dates back to 736 in what is now modern-day Germany. But, hops are not just for beer - use hops for their medicinal qualities or in cooking, too. 

Portugal: Peri-Peri - Known as Piri-Piri in Portuguese, is a fiery blend of peppers and other herbs and spices. Bazaar Spices' custom-blended Peri-Peri contains bird's eye chili, paprika, oregano, garlic, peppercorns, ginger, cardamom, and onion. 

Ghana: Sorghum Grain - A staple in northern Ghana, this ancient grain is high in fiber and protein. It's even gluten free! 

USA: BBQ Blends - What is more American than a good barbecue? Stop by Bazaar Spices and check out our wall of barbecue blends and smoking woods. BBQ! BBQ! BBQ!


Belgium: Coriander - Ah, Belgium, land of waffles, chocolate, and beers brewed with Coriander. If Belgian style beer isn't your thing, try coriander in any number of recipes. Its slight lemony flavor pairs well with almost anything. 

Algeria: Ras el Hanout - A spice blend used throughout North Africa, Bazaar Spices' Ras el Hanout is a mix of coriander, allspice, fennel, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, anise seed, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger and turmeric. (Not to be confused with Ra's al Ghul of Batman fame.)

Russia: Dill - Whether he weed or the seed, I'm pretty sure dill is Russia's national herb. Dill is sprinkled into and onto everything, and I mean everything - I once sampled a taco in Moscow topped with, you guessed it, dill. 

Korea Republic: Korean Red Pepper - A key ingredient in kimchi, Korea's national dish. Also called Gochugaru, this coarse pepper is smokey and slightly fruity. 


Kara Elder grew up playing in the kitchen cupboards and reading cookbooks for fun while watching her mom cook tasty Mexican meals. After graduating with a degree in Russian, she found herself increasingly interested in reading food blogs and planning menus. Kara, her mom, and her sister started a food blog of their own, The Troika Table. Kara is a Bazaar Spices Team Member and also works for Joan Nathan, a DC-based cookbook author and food writer. 

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