More about flavour

IMAGE: BLACK PEPPER & COFFEE MIXED PLANTATION, COORG, KARNATAKA

The Impact of Terroir

Herbs & spices like any other food crop are grown and harvested by knowledgeable farmers around the world. Yet because these ingredients are often dried and do keep for a comparatively long time, we forget that these crops also have a story to tell.

The flavour we experience when we taste herbs & spices varies greatly depending on which variety is used, how it is grown and where it is cultivated. The flavour of a black pepper from Madagascar for example varies hugely to a black pepper from India. This is both due to the soil and climate in which it is grown as well as the variety of seed that is used. There are literally thousands of black pepper varieties and yet most of us assume there to be just one. The more commodified our food supply chains have become, the less flavour that we get to enjoy as consumers.

This is why at Hill & Vale we strive to know every field and every farmer where our ingredients come from so we can learn more about this diversity in our ingredients. With every new flavour comes a new story which in turn translates to a new customer experience.

 

IMAGE: TURMERIC FARMERS, WAYANAD, KERALA

Small Batch Processing

When it comes to herbs and spices another huge impact on the flavour we experience comes from the processing. Inside each seed of cumin or leaf of parsley exists flavour compounds in the form of essential oils. These essential oils differ from ingredient to ingredient which is how we recognise the many different tastes and flavours.

For the most part whole herbs and spices are quite good and retaining their flavour as the essential oils are locked away inside. As soon as we grind the spices however the flavour compounds become exposed to air and evaporation occurs. This naturally reduces the amount of flavour in ground herbs and spices compared to whole ones.

This is why at Hill & Vale we process all of our spices in house and in small batches so we can limit the amount of flavour that is lost during the grinding and blending process. After any processing of our ingredients, the products are packaged and stored in airtight bags and or glass jars to ensure maximum flavour is retained. 

 

IMAGE: SPICES READY FOR BLENIDNG, BRISTOL, UK