Meet the Supplier - Burlap & Barrel Single Origin Spices

Meet the Supplier - Burlap & Barrel Single Origin Spices

SwitchGrocery has the amazing Burlap & Barrel single origin spices!!

Burlap & Barrel spices are single origin, meaning the owners of the company actually go to the farms where the spices are from, pick the harvest they want and work directly with the farmers to get it into your kitchen! What does this mean?  The spices are more flavourful and potent then the ones you buy in the grocery store and have nuances in their taste that you’ve never experienced before!   And the best part is Burlap & Barrel spices are now available in Canada on SwitchGrocery!!

Why did we pick Burlap & Barrel

  1. The owners are amazing! Ethan and Ori deeply care about spices and the farmers behind them! They even setup Burlap & Barrel as a public benefit corporation to articulate that their goals for their company are both to build a business and build a way for farmers to earn an income and grow!
  2. The spices are amazing! They are so much more flavourful then anything I’ve tried before!
  3. Canadians deserve amazing products like this as quickly as possible.

I believe that awesome companies should be able to get their products to customers quickly and not wait years to get on the shelves of traditional retail.  Plus, the food you eat should make you feel good and help you on your health journey! 

Burlap & Barrel is all those things, and we are so excited to carry their products!!

Who is behind the Company?

Burlap & Barrel was founded by two friends, Ethan Frisch and Ori Zahar.

Ethan Frisch started as a chef before leaving to become a humanitarian aid worker in places like Sierra Leone, Syria and Afghanistan.  It was in Afghanistan that Ethan met a farmer and discovered his first spice – Wild Mountain Cumin.  While working in Afghanistan he would bring the spice back for his own use as well as his friends who were chefs, and they couldn’t get enough of it!  Ethan travels all over the world meeting farmers and looking for new spices to bring to market. 

Ori Zahar is a social and serial entrepreneur and long-time friend of Ethan’s.  When Ethan first discovered the spices, they decided this was their next chance to work together, and Burlap & Barrel was born.

What is Burlap & Barrel?  

Burlap & Barrel is a public benefit corporation that aims to build new food supply chains.  What this means is that they want to help support the small farmers that they work with by connecting them to new markets, educate consumers about the products and process, and source unique spices that are grown biodynamically and organically using traditional techniques to obtain the best tasting foods.

The traditional spice model is that a large company will buy batches of spice from many regions and mix them all together and sell that spice (i.e. cinnamon) to grocery stores (after passing through up to 10 hands to get there).  By the time the spices reach the consumer, years may have passed from when they were first harvested, and any distinctiveness that existed in the flavour at harvest is long gone.

Burlap & Barrel aims to change this by working directly with the small farmers to bring you their best crops directly to you, retaining the flavours and freshness that they were meant to have!

 

Spices!

We are carrying six spices at launch! They are:

  • Royal Cinnamon
    • Named the Best Value Cinnamon by Spruce Eats
    • Harvested in the mountains around the ancient Vietnamese capital city of Hue.
    • Harvested in a unique way – rather than chopping the tree down to harvest the bark, the farmers make a cut around the base of the tree and let the bark dry on the tree for weeks before harvesting. This makes it both easier to harvest and concentrates the essential oils in the bark. 
    • Not widely harvested or exported
    • Intense sweetness and spiciness – tastes like cinnamon sugar without the sugar!
    • Tasting Notes – Brown Butter, Buckwheat Honey, Orange Peel
  • Black Urfa Chili
    • Harvested outside the city of Urfa in Turkey.
    • Starts out as a red, sweet and spicy pepper grown, and then cured in the sun changing colour from red to black before being stone ground into flakes.
    • Tasting Notes – reminiscent of chocolate and dried fruits with a lingering burn/spiciness.
  • Wild Mountain Cumin
    • The spice that started it all.
    • Hand picked by foragers in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan.
    • Has a savoury, penetrating aroma.
    • Other than what is exported for Burlap & Barrel, the cumin is harvested only for local consumption.
  • Zanzibar Black Peppercorns
    • Black Peppercorns grow in bunches like grapes on a vine. Most are harvested while still green, and then dried to give them their black colour. Burlap & Barrels are allowed to ripen longer on the vine before being handpicked and sun-dried.
    • Burlap & Barrel is the exclusive importer of Zanzibar Black pepper.
    • Tasting Notes – Cacao, Lemon, Tropical Heat
    • Organic
    • Sourced from a farmer’s co-op in Zanzibar.
  • Smoked Pimenton Paprika
    • Sweet red pimento peppers are slowly dried over oak coals, giving them a rich smoky flavour.
    • From a single family-owned farm in the Extremadura region of Western Spain.
    • Tasting Notes- Hardwood Smoke, Ripe Tomato, Summery Sweetness
  • Ground Black Lime
    • Grown on a family farm in Guatemala.
    • Ripe limes are dried in the sun until they turn black and savoury.
    • Tasting Note – Bright citrus, garden herbs, tanned leather
    • Common ingredient in middle eastern cooking.

Who should use Burlap & Barrel spices?

Everyone! Burlap & Barrel spices are so much more flavourful than the spices from the grocery store and will really amp up your cooking.  We spoke with Ori on a recent WineTea Wednesday, and his suggestion was to start with ½ the spice you would usually use and go from there since their spices more potent then normal.  

Final Thoughts

Burlap & Barrel single origin spices have really changed my cooking at home.  I love adding the cinnamon to my Keto Chow shakes, putting Black Urfa chili flakes on eggs, and adding paprika to my cauliflower rice!  I am still finding new ways to use everything and have adopted one of Ori’s suggestions – have a base dish that I know really well, and then play around with spices to see how different combinations work.  I do that with fried eggs – I’ve added Urfa Chili, Paprika, Cumin and Pepper in all different combinations to learn how to work with these new and more flavourful spices!



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