One of the first things people notice when sitting down to a Mediterranean inspired meal is the strong fragrance of spices that waft through the air. It is perhaps my most treasured pleasure to be able to eat with my nose and then my taste buds and Mediterranean cuisine lends itself beautifully to this indulgence. When asked if Mediterranean cuisine is spicy, I always preface with the statement that it is spicy in terms of a vast use of an array of spices, but not in terms of hot and spicy, which is what most people perceive spicy to be. But these cultures take spices to an even higher level. Spices are not only used for the purpose of flavoring foods, but for their medicinal and nutritional values as well.
I’ll never forget the first time I went to Morocco and was taken to a spice shop in the souks of the city of Fez. When we arrived we were expecting to be shown a number of spices and told their cost and be done with it. What we ended up with was an education about spices, their unique combinations and their purpose outside of their culinary use. We spent over three hours with the owner of the shop discussing how