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About
Spice First

A PLATFORM FOR SPICES, TELL ME MORE!

For anyone with an insatiable hunger, and let’s be honest, a slight obsession with spices, Spice First is your one-stop platform for recipes, stories and tips. In addition to hella lot of well-seasoned content, chef and writer Sophie Fleur organizes spicy workshops and dinners, and the best news: you can be part of it!

Spice Firsts mission is to share the enthusiasm for spices and rediscover their value. How? By looking at ancient rituals, Ayurvedic knowledge, farming practices, and most of all, our everyday lives. We want to make people aware of spices in the same way coffee has gained popularity over the last decade. Asking similar questions: what is the origin, are the farming practices sustainable, what are the differences between varieties, and most of all: how can we make them taste better?

This platform was founded in the midst of the Covid19 turmoil (March 2020) by spice girls Eva & Sophie Fleur, out of love for spice and the excitement to share the valuable insights and golden nuggets of information gained throughout the years.

We learned from traveling, eating in all corners of the world with people from all corners of the world, and by watching our gurus and role models, reading books, tapping from online sources and dating spicy lovers. Since 2023 Eva focuses solely on her Ayurvedic journey and is no longer active as a Spice First partner. That being said: she will still be a contributing writer and pops-up here and there for Ayurvedic workshops.

Spices are a process, a journey, and a true lifestyle. You are invited to join us on this road of re-discovery.
FOUNDER
Sophie Fleur
Sophie Fleur is an Amsterdam-based food writer and chef who thinks everything tastes better with lemon. She works for culinary clients such as delicious. magazine, Oatly and We are the Regeneration, and has previously written for Ahold and Mitra.

In her spare time she moves her body in pretzel shapes and teaches others how to do the same. She has a special talent for making short stories longer and shares recipes nobody asked for. After finishing her studies in art- and architecture history in 2016 she decided that her hunger for the arts should come second, and spice first.
AYURVEDIC SPECIALIST
Eva Dusch
Eva is a freelance journalist and writer whose work focuses on lifestyle and human interest. Her work has been published in several (wo)men’s lifestyle magazines. In 2019 she found her true calling (as she feels it): Ayurveda. That same year she started studying for Ayurveda Practitioner Trainee at the Delight Academy in Amsterdam. She now offers personal nutrition & lifestyle consultations.

“Doctor literally means ‘teacher’ in Latin. And that’s how I see myself when I’m treating patients. Education on health is SO important and that’s what I’m aiming for. As a practitioner ánd writer. Our Western medical system is really failing on that side. There’s so much beautiful knowledge about what nature can do for us, yet it’s mostly disregarded in the West. Ayurveda is about supporting life in the broadest sense. To take care and support ourselves so we can do the same for others.”
About our
spice suppliers
Before spices reach your kitchen cupboard, they often travel a very long way. This is nothing new, but it’s good to keep in mind. Due to the lack of transparency, it's almost impossible to know exactly how the spices coming from all over the world—particularly from countries like India, China, and Vietnam—are grown and whether fair trade and sustainable farming practices are involved.

Therefore, the question of where we buy our spices is not easy to answer. There is no one-stop shop for fair, sustainable, regenerative spices (i.e., respecting the soil and avoiding chemicals). Fortunately, there are some simple tricks you can apply to separate the sheep from the goats (see below). For those who find this too much hassle, here’s a brief overview of all the places where we source our spices:

The Good Spice

Spice pioneer Iona Mulder and her team source all spices themselves and buy directly from farmers (and their families & communities). They pay a fair price, well above the market price. Moreover, they make agreements with the farmers about regenerative farming practices, which has two benefits: first, we get the tastiest spices without chemicals and pesticides, and the soil does not get depleted.

We recommend:
  • Ginger & turmeric from eleven Indian women farmers named Lakyntu Lang
  • Paprika from Hungarian farmer Péter
  • Cardamom (the Njallani variety) from Idukki, located in the Cardamom Hills of Kerala
  • Wild fennel seeds from Sicily, more savory than other varieties
And also:
  • Wild Ceylon cinnamon & black pepper from the jungle of Sri Lanka
  • Grade A Bourbon vanilla beans, with lots of vanillin, from a family plantation in Uganda
  • Black cumin from Afghanistan, collected from 43 different families

Pacific Spices

Anyone who cooks a lot of Indonesian dishes can find their heart’s delight here. Everything comes directly from Moluccan spice farmers, without middlemen, and at a better price for the farmers.

We recommend:
  • Nutmeg
  • Cloves
  • Mace
  • Long pepper (pippali)

Daphnis and Chloe

A trip to Greece, and actually more of a herb address than a spice address, but wow, the fennel seed and smoky chili flakes from Daphnis and Chloe are irresistible. Everything comes from small organic farmers in Greece. Local varieties, hand-harvested, and superduper fresh flavours.

We recommend:
  • Sweet fennel seeds from Evia
  • Sesame seeds from Evros
  • Smoked chili flakes from Karatzova chilies from Almopia

Het Blauwe Huis

Certified organic, sometimes biodynamic, but otherwise you get little information about the origin and prices paid to the farmers. So, order spices here only if you can’t find them at the above places. This is a good address for herbs.

We recommend:
  • Apothecary’s rose
  • Chamomile
  • Caraway seeds (commercial cultivation in the Netherlands mainly takes place in Oldambt in Groningen, Zeeland, and the Haarlemmermeer)
  • Lavender
  • Nigella
  • Pink pepper
  • Allspice
  • Dill seeds
  • Verbena
  • Cassia cinnamon
  • Star anise
  • Coriander seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Fenugreek seeds

Wildfarming

Of Dutch origin, yes really!

We recommend:
  • Poppy seeds from Groningen
  • Mustard seeds from Groningen

Souq

Merijn & Nadia taste everything together to ensure quality and try to buy as many spices as possible directly from farmers in the Levant with their partner.

We recommend:
  • Rosewater
  • Orange blossom water
  • Sumac
  • Za'atar
  • Preserved lemons
  • Pomegranate molasses (not a spice, but delicious)

Pit & Pit

An online service with a lot of spices. Try to buy as much organic as possible and be careful with large packages so that the jars don’t stay in your cupboard for 5 years (this doesn’t benefit the flavor).

We recommend:
  • Saffron (or better: Belgian saffron)
  • and everything (organic!) that you can’t find at the other addresses.

Westlandpeppers

For chilies directly from the farmer! Definitely order fresh chilies and dried chilies here, like my favorite: chili morita!

What to Look for When Buying Spices? Check This List from Iona Mulder, Founder of The Good Spice

  • Know Where You Buy
    The selection in the supermarket and toko is large, but it’s difficult to determine how sustainable they are. Fortunately, labels—if they’re present—can help us a bit. They often provide little information but enough to give an indication. Think about answers to questions like: where was the spice harvested, by whom, and especially when (considering freshness)? If you can’t find any information on these points, you can be almost sure it’s not good. Therefore, it’s good to buy spices from sellers you know are committed to sustainability and strive for a better and fairer world. Or, for example, have the shortest possible supply chain.
  • How Fresh Are They and How Long Can You Store Spices?
    The idea that dried spices last forever is a myth. According to Iona, you can actually only store spices for one year, including the time the spices are on their way to the Netherlands—this is especially true for ground powders like dried ginger, paprika powder, chili, and turmeric. Other spices that retain their form, such as coriander, cumin, star anise, cloves, and fennel seeds, maintain their quality longer. So, check for a production date. The more recent, the better.
  • Check for Certification (or Company Missions)
    No, not our favorite task, especially when you want to do quick shopping. But sometimes one extra glance is enough to recognize a piece of fair and/or sustainable labels. Think of Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade certificates. Large brands also have several projects to produce certain spices more sustainably and fairly—paying the farmer a higher price.
  • Choose Single Origin
    Single Origin means that a product comes from a specific variety and region. Just like with coffee, one spice can also have different variants that taste slightly different. These unique flavors are lost when various variants are mixed (which often happens!). Therefore, it’s best to invest in ‘Single Origin’ spices, which come from one and the same source. Sometimes the location is a specific region and sometimes it’s a specific farm. In any case, they are not blended with other varieties.
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