A Variety of Epicurean Delights, Shipped From Afar

23 Jun

Vanilla Beans

Awhile ago Cat and I bought some vanilla beans from this ebay seller. 20 A Grade Tahitian vanilla beans for $11 AUD (including shipping)! Actually, the seller threw in 2 extra so we got 22, which worked out to 50c a bean – 1/6 of the cost that they are here.

As soon as they arrived I wrapped them in plastic and sealed them in an airtight jar. I need to go buy some vodka so I can make vanilla extract, and I’ll save some for baking as well.

Fleur de Sel de Guerande

Liz and Andrew went to France and Greece, and they asked if there was anything we wanted them to bring back for us. I figured wine and cheese would be too unwieldly, so I asked for some fleur de sel (which David Lebovitz has called “one of the great bargains in France”). It’s a finishing salt, used just before eating, and harvested by hand. This is what it says on the little tag that came with it:

This special delicate salt is picked up by hand at the surface of Guerande’s salt pans, in France’s Britany. It appears only some days, when the east wind is blowing, and only in a very small amount. Light, pure, it is famous for its violet flavour. Previously reserved for royal tables, it is exceptionally soluble and very rich in magnesium, calcium and trace elements. It is guaranteed completely natural.

I think I originally wanted it for a salted caramel recipe, but I won’t be tempting myself by baking anything unhealthy in the near future, so I’ll sprinkle it on some salad or steak.


In that photo you can also see the Speculoos that Liz and Andrew picked up for us too (David Lebovitz also wrote an article about Speculoos that made it sound really tasty too). It smells like a mix of spices – cinnamon and ginger are the ones I can pick out – and also like cookies. Which isn’t surprising given that it’s basically a paste version of those dutch windmill cookies.

I had some Speculoos with my steel cut oats a week ago. I had to use a fair amount to get it to taste as strong as it smelled, and I think overall I prefer peanut butter in my oats. I can see Speculoos going really well with crepes or croissants!

2 Responses to “A Variety of Epicurean Delights, Shipped From Afar”

  1. Iron Chef Shellie June 24, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    I have some fleur de sal at home, in a tiiiiiiny little bag. Still haven’t used it yet! it cost me almost $13!

    • pamperedhousewife June 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

      Ah yes, the “too precious to use!” syndrome. =D I wonder if salt goes off (probably not, right?)

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