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 SPICEADDICT5 to get your first box for $3!
The Products: 3 freshly ground spice blends from one country or region, enough to create 3 dishes serving 6-10 people.
Ships to: U.S. (with free shipping) and Canada (for an additional fee).
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
Each month, RawSpiceBar sends spices from one region or geographical area. This is the “Icelandic Flavor Kit.”
German Gingerbread — 0.3 oz.
The first blend included this month German Gingerbread, a mix of ginger, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, black peppercorns, cloves, mace, and star anise. I know that gingerbread is pretty commonly found throughout Scandinavia, but I think it’s a little odd to include a “German” blend in an Icelandic box. I was hoping to find an explanation in the included recipes or theme card, but it wasn’t mentioned.
Here are the suggested recipes for this blend:
The next spice in this month’s box is quatre spices. This is another blend that has me scratching my head. Quatre epices is a French spice blend that’s also occasionally used in Middle Eastern cooking, and it was previously included in the July 2016 Provence Spice Box. I’m not sure how (or if) the blend is connected to Icelandic cooking.
Quatre Epices - 0.3 oz.
RawSpiceBar’s Quatre Epices, which means “four spices” in French, is a blend of white peppercorns, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. RawSpiceBar recommends using it to make Quatre Epices Cake or Quatre Spices & Honey Roast Pork.
When I received this blend in the Provence Box, I used it on salmon and really enjoyed it. You can check out that dish in my July RawSpiceBar review.
Rounding out this month’s box is Licorice Salt.
Licorice Salt - 0.3 oz.
This salt is a mix of ground black licorice and salt.
I decided to make the recipe for a Licorice Almond Milk Latte. (Note: I have a mini espresso maker at home, but I think you could probably replicate this recipe with extra strong coffee and milk warmed up on the stove & whipped with a milk frother.)
Before I made the latte, I mixed up the blend of spices listed on the recipe card. Not all of the spices had quantities listed, so I came up with my own blend. I used: 1/4 teaspoon RawSpiceBar Licorice Salt, 1/8 teaspoon cloves, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. While I was blending the spices together, my husband came into the kitchen and pointed out that it seemed odd that I’d need to make my own spice blend in order to make a recipe included in a spice subscription. I hadn’t really thought about it like that, but he has a point… one of the great things about RawSpiceBar is that they include freshly toasted and ground spices. Recommending that subscribers combine the fresh RawSpiceBar spices with their own pre-ground ones probably isn’t the best way to let them shine.
Instead of just sprinkling the spices on top of my latte, I wanted to get a little fancy, so I cut out a heart template to use. I pulled an espresso shot (and mixed in a little vanilla extract, as per the recipe), steamed the milk, made the latte and then held my template over the top of the cup as I sprinkled the spice blend on top.
The latte was nice, and the spices on top certainly added a festive flair. RawSpiceBar’s mix gave the drink a faint saltiness and, the licorice added an unexpected element to the spice blend. Altogether, it was a fun and unusual holiday drink.
Verdict: This box was a bit of a miss for me, unfortunately. I enjoyed mixing up a latte with licorice salt, but I don’t really feel like the other spices in this box are the best choices to represent Iceland. I don’t know very much about Icelandic cooking, but I’m not sure these recipes are all that representative of Icelandic cuisine, either. I suppose I expected to see some lamb or seafood, or perhaps something pickled or smoked?
At $8 per month, RawSpiceBar is an affordable way to discover new spice blends, but it’s important to know that RawSpiceBar has a history of sending flawed and unedited recipes. Their spice blends are always fresh and unique, but the recipes can be problematic.
What do you think about RawSpiceBar’s Icelandic Spice Box?