RawSpiceBar is a monthly subscription that sends freshly ground, small batch spice blends and recipes that utilize them.
My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: RawSpiceBar
The Cost: $8 per month
COUPON: Use coupon code SPICEFLAVOR to save 50% off your first box!
The Products: 3 freshly ground spice blends from one country or region, enough to create 3 dishes serving 6-10 people.
Ships to: US (with free shipping) and Canada (for an additional fee).
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Each month, RawSpiceBar sends spices from one region or geographical area. This is the “Oktoberfest Spice Box.” (I’m so excited that this month’s box draws inspiration from Oktoberfest! What a fun and perfectly seasonal choice!)
This month’s recipes are Horseradish & Mustard Cabbage, German Chicken Schnitzel, and Caraway Cheese Soft Pretzels.
Schnitzel Spices, 0.3 oz.
The first blend included this month is a mix of juniper berries, cayenne peppers, bay leaves, and black peppercorn spices.
Horseradish & Mustard Seeds, 0.3 oz.
The second is a combination of toasted brown mustard seeds, toasted yellow mustard seeds, and horseradish powder. The recommended recipe for this spice blend is Horseradish & Mustard Cabbage. There aren’t too many foods I just really don’t like, but, unfortunately, cabbage is one of them. I’m happy to eat it from time to time, but I’ll always pick something else when given a choice.
After poking around on the internet for inspiration, I decided to use this spice blend in a salad.
I combined arugula, sliced apples, and walnuts in a large bowl, and I dressed the salad with a mix of citrus-infused olive oil, white wine vinegar, RawSpiceBar’s Horseradish & Mustard Seeds (I used half of the packet), salt, and pepper.
I really liked the way this salad turned out! The horseradish was pretty mild, but it did add a nice kick that worked surprisingly well with the sweetness of the apples.
Caraway, Fennel, & Anise Bread, 0.3 oz.
The third spice in this box is a mix of caraway seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, and coriander, and the suggested recipe is pretzels!
I LOVE making pretzels, so I couldn’t wait to try out this recipe! I read through it before getting started, though, and there were a couple of red flags. First of all, the recipe called for yeast to be sprinkled over some warm water, but it didn’t specify how much water the recipe required. Secondly, baking soda was listed as an ingredient, but it was never mentioned in the instructions. Most shockingly, though, it omitted what is arguably the most important part of making pretzels: boiling them! Boiling pretzels in an alkaline solution (baking soda and water, typically) is essential for creating their traditional chewy texture and even their quintessential “pretzel flavor.” I simply can not believe this recipe didn’t include instructions for boiling the pretzels!
Luckily, I have a favorite recipe that I’ve used many times before that I decided to follow instead. (It’s a great recipe that has always turned out wonderfully for me. Here’s a link, in case anyone wants to try it. The recipe is actually for pretzel rolls, but there’s no reason the same dough can’t be used for twisty pretzels.)
I halved the recipe, and I added half of the provided spice blend. (So, if you follow the recipe as-is, use the whole packet!)
I let the dough rise for about an hour and a half, and I then portioned it into 8 rolls.
After resting for about 15 minutes, I boiled all of the rolls in a combination of water, baking soda, and sugar. As soon as the dough heated up in the water, my kitchen started to smell like pretzels!
I boiled all of the rolls for 30 seconds on each side (the longer you boil them, the chewier the crust will be) and then transferred them to a baking sheet. I sliced the tops with a sharp knife, sprinkled on some salt, and transferred them to the oven.
The rolls baked for about 22 minutes. When they were ready, I took them out of the oven to cool.
These rolls are, without doubt, the best bread I’ve ever made at home. I’ve made the basic pretzel roll recipe many times before (and I LOVE it), but RawSpiceBar’s blend of caraway, fennel, and anise added subtle layers of flavor to these rolls that transformed them something unique and really special.
They’re delicious on their own, but they’re even better when loaded up with hot roast beef, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and horseradish mustard. Making bread from scratch at home is definitely a chore, but, when I took my first bite of this bad boy, I knew it was totally worth the effort.
In keeping with the Oktoberfest theme, my husband and I paired our salad and sandwiches with some ice cold beer. Ahhhhhh.
Verdict: I think “Oktoberfest” is a great theme for this month’s RawSpiceBar box, and I had a lot of fun playing around with the spices. I love the meal I made, and I’m particularly pleased with how the caraway, fennel, & anise blend worked in the pretzel rolls. It’s disappointing, of course, that RawSpiceBar’s pretzel recipe was off, but this isn’t exactly a new problem. Looking on the bright side, I’m pleased that I was able to spot the mistakes before I got started, so I could swap in a familiar recipe instead. Without fail, RawSpiceBar always sends blends that are fresh and creative, but it is a little sad that I’ve come to expect their recipes to contain typos and flaws. If you like cooking with new spices and exploring different cuisines, RawSpiceBar might be the subscription for you. Just be aware that the recipes they send can be trouble.
What do you think about RawSpiceBar’s Oktoberfest Spice Box?