202 East Davis Street • Culpeper, Virginia 22701 • 540-825-8415 815 Caroline St • Fredericksburg, VA 22401 • 540-373-1262
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Spices

Spices, Herbs and Salts


Taste OVS’s spices and herbs are organically sourced from around the world. Light, moisture, heat, air (oxygen) are their enemies. The greater the exposure, the quicker they lose color, potency and quality.

We seal our spices, herbs and salts in 2, 4 or 6 ounce glass jars with screw tops to keep them fresh as possible in our store and in your home.

Most herbs and spices are harvested once a year, so we suggest purchasing just a year’s supply at a time.

Cinnamon, Saigon

Vietnam, or also known as Saigon
Oil content is a very high at 5 percent, which leads many to call this particular variety the best you can get. Great in cookies, breads, ice cream, cakes, dumplings, pies, pastries, puddings, soups, chutneys, pickles, meat glazes, squash, and even vinegars! Outstanding enhancement to hot drinks like tea, cider, coffee, and cocoa. Vietnamese cinnamon also enhances fruits like apricots, apples, cherries, blueberries, and oranges, and vegetables like onions, carrots, and spinach. Combines well with allspice, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, ginger and nutmeg.

Cumin

Turkey
Flavor is aromatic, spicy-sweet and somewhat bitter with earthy undertones. A staple spice in curries, garam masala blends, Southwestern chili, and many Mexican bean, meat and rice dishes. Works well in combination with allspice, anise seed, brown mustard seed, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, fennel seed, fenugreek seed, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, turmeric and yellow mustard seed. Roasting the seeds before grinding (or using whole) will result in a toasted nutty flavor.

Curry (a blended spice)

India
Use to enhance color, aroma, and flavor of almost any Indian-influenced dish. The outcome will be spicy (but not necessarily hot) and always recognizably Indian. This blend is mellow-spicy but not hot. Ingredients: coriander, turmeric, mustard, cumin, fenugreek, paprika, cayenne, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.

Garam Masala

A general purpose, spicy warm (not hot) Indian seasoning blend. Used in traditional Indian dishes such as dahl, kormas, samosas, and tandoori, and to season poultry and meat. Add at the end of the cooking the flavor tends to dissipate with heat and time. Ingredients: cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, pepper, and coriander.

Lavender

France
Has an intense, spicy and sweetly floral aroma with mint and lemon undertones. Taste has a touch of camphor with a hint of bitterness. Most commonly found in dessert recipes, but can be a spectacular addition to savory foods. Adds a robust flavor to roasted meats and is particularly good with chicken, lamb, pheasant and rabbit. Combined with thyme, savory and rosemary to make Herbs de Provence. Grind a few lavender flowers with sugar into a fine powder to serve with blackberries, blueberries, cherries, plums, strawberries, and sugar cookies. Lavender in homemade ice cream in chocolate mousse is excellent. Potent; use sparingly.

Naples Seasoning

This aromatic salt free seasoning blend makes it easy to create Southern Italian flavor in your kitchen. It’ll add a smooth, savory flavor to marinades, soups and stews. We’ve also used it to create a delightful vinegar & oil salad dressing, but where it really shines is when it’s added to just about any tomato-based dish – especially lasagna, pizza or spaghetti. It also adds a nice spin to fish and meatloaf. 

Our Naples Seasoning is hand blended from toasted onion, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, roasted garlic, red bell pepper and marjoram.

Paprika

Israel
Ideal for adding color and a bit of pungent sweetness. Especially good with cheeses, chicken, egg dishes, duck, hors d'oeuvres, pork, rice, salads, vegetables, and smoked foods. Excellent in salad dressings to add color and as emulsifier for oil and vinegar. In many Cajun and Creole soups, stews, and homemade sausage. Combines with allspice, caraway, cardamom, garlic, ginger, oregano, parsley, pepper, rosemary, saffron, and turmeric.

Peppercorns, Gourmet

 Are you a fan of freshly ground pepper? Then you're sure to love this exotic peppercorn blend of our gourmet Black, White, Green and Pink peppercorns that not only looks spectacular but also provides a wonderfully enchanting spin to any dish that needs the delicate heat that only a top quality pepper can provide. Add to your peppermill and coarsely grind to your taste buds delight. 

Peppercorns, Green

Sri Lanka
Has a mild yet distinct flavor. Not as robust as black peppercorns. Freshly picked, unripened peppercorns are boiled in water, treated with potassium sulphite to prevent blackening, and then dehydrated.

Peppercorns, Malabar Black

Sri Lanka
Picked just before the berry fully ripens, has a pronounced spicy flavor with a bit more bite and heat and just a hint of sweetness compared to most other types of peppercorns. Goes well with eggs, fish, pork, chicken, salads, soup, strawberries, and tomatoes.

Peppercorns, Pink

Brazil

Pink peppercorns are the dried berries of the shrub Schinus molle, also known as the Peruvian peppertree. Pink peppercorns are not actually related to black peppercorns, but get their name from the similarities in look and their peppery flavor. Pink peppercorns are light and delicate. They crush very easily and are almost hollow. Pink peppercorns are from the genus Piper which is related to the cashew family. For this reason, you should use caution when using Pink peppercorns around any person who has an allergy to nuts.

Peppercorns, Sichuan

Indigenous to China, Sichuan peppercorns are also called aniseed pepper, Chinese pepper, Chinese prickly-ash, Fagara, Indonesian lemon pepper, Japanese pepper, Nepal pepper, Sansho or Szechwan pepper. You’ll also find these alternative spellings - Szechuan, Szechwan and Schezuan.  

Sichuan berries are very fragrant and provide an unusual, sharp flavor that begins mildly warm with earthy, lemony undertones and then quickly evolves to an almost numbing sensation on the tongue that works well with hot spices. Its complex and surprising flavor is often used to intensify the flavor of cheese, chicken, seafood and vegetables. Home chefs who love to add an exotic, captivating twist to a dish will use it as a substitute for black pepper. 

Peppercorns, White

India
Sharp and pungent with almost sweet undertones. Has a slightly musty aroma. Can withstand higher temperatures, and good in flavoring creamy sauces and various light-colored dishes where black would mar the dish. Finely ground white pepper dissolves to season more evenly, especially when marinating meats.

Pizza Seasoning

Make seasoning your pizza a snap with our Salt Free Pizza Seasoning. You’ll find it contains a perfect blend of seasonings to spice up every pizza just like your favorite Italian pizza parlor – from the thin crust plain cheese to the deep dish give me everything you got pie. This is ideal for those looking for a low sodium pizza alternative. 

Use this classic flavor when making homemade pizza or for adding to your takeout pizza for extra flavor and color. Mix into your homemade pizza dough for an out of this world crust or add 1 tablespoon of pizza seasoning to 2 cups of tomato sauce (or add two tablespoons if you prefer it spicier). 

Whether you choose to make your pizza from scratch or to cook a frozen version this seasoning will hit the spot. You can also use this to make pizza bread or as an additional seasoning on garlic bread. 

Hand blended from Mediterranean oregano, basil, garlic, onion, thyme, fennel seed, red bell pepper, crush red pepper, parsley and marjoram. 

Salt, Hawaiian Black

Hawaii
Also known as black lava salt, black salt or black sea salt. Has a dramatic presentation and subtle smoky, salty, hint of sweetness flavor. Has purified black lava loaded with minerals and activated charcoal for color that produces a slightly sulfuric aroma. Usually used as finishing salt.

Salt, Himalayan Pink

Himalayan Mountains
Mined by hand, from ancient sea salt deposits, salt experts believe that this is the purest form of salt available. Has more than 84 minerals and trace elements including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and potassium. Can range in color from white to pink to deep dark red. Used in the same manner as table salt for culinary dishes and baking. Goes well with soups, stews, pasta, salads, vegetables, seafood and grains.

Salt, Smoked Mesquite

Not all smoked salts are created equal, the very best smoked salts attain their flavor by being cold smoked over aromatic wood fires. The cool smoke from these fires seeps into the salt crystals giving the distinctive smoked taste. Properly smoked salts become infused with the flavor characteristics of the wood they were smoked with – alderwood, apple, cherry, hickory or mesquite are more popular while some other, more out of the ordinary woods used, come from barrels such as bourbon whiskey or chardonnay wine. 

Naturally smoked salt is created by experienced artisans using only high quality evaporated sea salt and real wood smoke. This is a much more expensive method as not only are experienced craftsman critical but this process also requires specialized smokers. Top quality smoked salts are typically cold smoked for 5-10 days. 

A lesser quality “smoked” salt is usually an inexpensive “mined salt” salt with smoke flavoring and additional “coloring” added to the salt. These types of artificially “smoked” salts are certainly much cheaper but they should not be considered gourmet or top quality. 

Salt, Smoky Citrus

This is a gourmet  flavored salt that we did a great deal of research on. Most of what we were finding were a variety of citrus salts that just contained lemon, orange and maybe some lime zest combined with sea salt. We wanted something a bit more robust. We ended up with numerous test batches until we we were settled on our Smoked Citrus Salt that we felt really fit the bill.

Hand blended from sea salt, orange peel, lemon peel, coarse black pepper, smoked alderwood salt, lime peel and ginger. 

Taco Seasoning

Our Taco Seasoning is the perfect blend of lively spices that you can use to give just about any dish a nice bit of Mexican flair. Our taco seasoning is an excellent time saving addition to any kitchen where time is of the essence – just add it to your chicken, beef or ground turkey and you can create a ton of flavor. 

This salt free seasoning is not a mild seasoning meant for the very young but it’s not overly spicy either. Also be aware of most other taco seasonings you'll find on the market as they tend to have salt in them (which is also a less expensive filler).

Sicilian Bread Dipping Seasoning

Through much of Italy you’re not likely to see a bowl of olive oil placed on a restaurant table as that practically guarantees the waste of premium quality oil as Italians don’t typically eat bread before they start their meal. Most Italians also aren’t likely to eat much of anything out of a communal bowl. Right after the harvest when fresh olives have been cold pressed into that season’s olive oil you may find Italians sampling the newest olive oil offerings in a restaurant but they are only tasting the pure olive oil (this ritual is much more like a wine tasting). Bread may be used during this taste testing but not always.

There is some debate in this country as to where the practice of dipping bread in an olive oil and balsamic vinegar mix or an olive oil and bread dipping seasoning really started to take hold. Some mistakenly say New York, but the majority of serious food lovers believe it started in some of the nicer Italian restaurants in San Francisco.

Turmeric

India
Has an acrid, warm aroma, bright color, and slightly pungent, bitter taste. Tastes something like a cross between ginger and pepper. The spice that gives curry powder its unmistakable golden orange color. Often used to color sweet dishes or to spice meat, especially lamb, and vegetables. Good with fish, in baked goods, prepared mustards and pickles, broths, dressings, egg recipes, and soups. Also artichokes, potatoes, and in rice dishes. Combines with cilantro, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, fennel seed, garlic, ginger, mustard seed, paprika, and pepper.

Tuscany Bread Dipping Seasoning

Our bread dipping seasoning is inspired by and named after the Tuscany region in Italy. This region is best known for its light cooking style and use of fresh local ingredients. This cuisine tends to be much healthier and less fatty than other Italian areas.

This area has a reputation for wonderful fresh baked artisan bread, olive oils and of course wine.  Italian meals are served with multiple courses and the Tuscany region is no different. The appetizers revolve around some sort of bread dish and with some fresh bread, the best quality olive oil and the right seasoning you have an ideal dip that will instantly transport you to a delightful dinner in a family home in the heart of Tuscany. 

Za'atar (Israeli)

Za'atar, pronounced “zaa tur”, is also spelled zaatar za'tar, zahtar and zahatar, is a Middle Eastern spice blend that is used from North Africa and into Turkey. There is a bit of confusion surrounding za'atar as it has been used to identify everything from a class of herbs to a spice blend. What exactly is za'atar? It’s a wild herb, condiment, dip, spice blend and is even eaten by itself (yes it’s that good and some even call it a bit addicting). It’s an ancient cultural spice blend that serves as a unique identifying culinary badge that several nations throughout the Middle East. These nation’s all claim that their version is the truest and the best za’atar. Obviously not your typical spice blend!