Friday, 14 May 2010


Having moved to Spain from the Miggle East, I do find the availability and prices of herbs and spices to be a bit of a problem. For sure, there's a short list of stuff you can get in any supermarket for almost nothing, and there are herbalarios that sell the same things and a few others at a somewhat higher price. And anything else you want, you get it when you're in England or order it from some dodgy dudes on the Interwebz. In Dubai, you could go to the Spice Soukh, or even a supermarket, and they would have sacks full of everything and they'd sell you a bit of it for virtually nothing.

But hey, The Secret Pie Company got its First Order today (even though it wasn't planning to), and has almost run out of sage (even though this grows like wildfire all over the hills and mountains, it's almost impossible to find in a shop: and the hills and mountains are too bloody far away for me go and pick my own) and allspice (pimiento de Jamaica) which I've never, ever, seen in a shop in Spain.

The First Order (which will be framed, by the way, and treasured in the boardroom of The Secret Pie Company in decades to come) requires these substances, and I quietly mentioned this factoid to my companion, who told me about a new spice shop that had opened recently a few streets away from where we were.

I went to the shop ('Spicy Yuli' on Calle de Valverde, near 'The Quiet Man' boozah). It's a bit cool, as required by its location, and sells exotic teas and pretty much any spice you can think of. Allspice was no problem at all - they have it whole or powdered. And oh, always a plus for me, the proprietor speaks English. It's not exactly cheap, but they do give you a free sample of the tea of your choice.

Lovely packaging, by the way. And the Secret Pie Company also has to make some sample pies and things next week because it's being interviewed by a local English-language paper. And there's a plan to get more sales by the end of the week. Ooh, err. All a bit exciting, innit.


Jayne said...

Congrats! Mabruk! Well done on your first order keefie.
(Oh to have a man slaving over a hot stove - it's every womans dream!)

Lee said...

Thanks for the tip about the spice shop. I can't live without sage and usually buy it when I go home to NYC. For more exotic spices, have you tried any of the asian grocery stores in Lavapies?

MADrid REDS said...

Tried the Indian/Iranian/African/Arab shops of Lavapies (around calle Amparo)? I get all my curry spices there, pretty cheap. Not sure about allspice availability there though.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I´m a friend of your old neighbour Neil, and live around the corner from Spicy Yuli. Julie and I were talking about her doing a class/demo at my place. It´ll probably be towards the end of the month, if you fancy joining please do get in touch.