As the summer heat waves come to an end, we’ll be waving back by spicing up September. Allison Johnson owner of The Spice Trader Toronto’s first organic spice shop will be our guest speaker and guide for an intimate, informative and delicious evening focused on the spices often used in Scandinavian cuisine.
Global Supremacy Wasn’t Always All About Oil
In its day, the spice trade was the world’s biggest industry: it established and destroyed empires, led to the discovery of new continents, and in many ways helped lay the foundation for the modern world. The geopolitical history of the world can be painted with spices.
Hi Ho The Merry O….”I – Viking We Will Go!”
In the case of the Scandinavian countries, the movers and shakers of their time were the Vikings. For the Norse peoples back in the day “i-viking” was a verb. Raiding was something to do when not farming. It was common practice for some to supplement incomes by becoming part-time explorer, warrior, mercenary, pirate, or merchant.
Decisions, decisions……Raid or Trade?!
Those “Vikings” became known historically as warriors whose main aim was plunder and mayhem (which btw, they were very very good at). But, more accurately, they were opportunist and where fortifications precluded pillaging, they would negotiate. In time those Norse peoples would come to set up extremely important trading settlements and generally become the international tradesmen of their time.
For example, Dublin was founded by the Vikings. Also, The French region of Normandy takes its name from the Viking invaders who were called Normanni, which means ‘men of the North’.
Ever expanding and travelling south, the Vikings also sacked Spanish, Italian and Portuguese towns and enclaves.
As a result of all this exploring, raiding and trading, there are many surprising spices (we’re looking at you you cardamom and saffron) that the Scandinavians not only had access to but which became an integral part of the rich culinary history of the north.
Just A Spoonful Of Spices Makes The Medicine Go Down!
It’s hard to imagine a time when folks could be paid in nutmeg (know to be a hallucinogenic similar to ecstasy) or black pepper (used to treat tooth decay and indigestion) but here’s the thing…….the value of spices are not only in their ability to excite your taste buds. Many spices are composed of an impressive list of phyto-nutrients, essential oils, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that are essential for overall wellness. For many people around the world, smelling good and tasting great were just an added bonus to what were seen as early pharmacalogical essentials.
Spices have been used medicinally for centuries in Eastern Traditional Medicine, (cloves prescribed as a topical antiseptic, ginger root for migraines, or cinnamon for a sore throat …) Even today, spices are still relevant for us. Based on recent studies, modern western doctors now regularly are prescribing turmeric for arthritis inflammation!
About Allison Johnson and The Spice Trader
Allison Johnson and partner Neil Bougourd are the co-owners and driving force behind Toronto’s Spice Trader. In 2005 this “mom and pop” team turned their love of food into a spice mecca frequented by many foodie’s and chefs.
Dedication to sourcing quality spices from around the world means stocking a curated shop of organic, naturally grown, wild harvested, non-gmo, and rare products. It often means creating your own specialty spice blends. That last bit to the delight of Toronto’s culturally diverse population whose search to find that elusive “recipe must have to be authentic“ flavour often leads them right to the Queen Street West shop.
Take A Peek Inside The Spice Trader and Meet Allison!
Join us for Dinner & A Chat!
Want to learn more about the spices used in Scandinavian cuisine? Join us at Karelia Kitchen on Wednesday September 14th, 7.00pm for The Spice Trader Dinner with Allison Johnson. We’ll be serving up four courses of deliciously spiced dishes while Allison chats about the history and uses of spices in many different cuisines. Also learn how to get the most out of your spice cabinet with tips on best practices for buying, storing as well as exploring their many uses from flavouring your supper to easing the effects of the common cold.
Check Out The Menu!
seating is limited….call to reserve you spot 647-748-1194
Dinner is $45/person……
if you add the wine it’s $60/person
Chilled Creamy Tomato Soup
with green peppercorn and dill
Drink: Blood Orange Bellini with cardamom sugared rim
Orange and Star Anise Scented Gravlax
with ginger and scallion pesto
Roast Beet and Baby Arugula Salad
with peppered fresh berries
and spiced walnuts
Drink: Creekside Sauvignon Blanc “Backyard Block” or
Brown Butter Fried Local Pickerel
heirloom carrot ribbon and sliced almond salad
with honeyed turmeric and yoghurt dressing
Dry Rubbed Smoked Whey-fed Pork Shoulder
cumin, lime, smoked paprika butter
Roast Ontario corn salad, with tomatoes and red watercress
Drink: Creekside Pinot Gris or Featherstone Blacksheep Reisling or
Pommie’s Farmhouse Cider
with toasted pistachios and fresh raspberries
Butter Baked Peaches
with pie spiced ice cream
Drink: House raspberry schnapps
Coffee or Ginger Spice Tea