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Spice trends for spring/summer menus in Rochester, NY

Our prediction for hot international spices to inspire your spring and summer menus. They may be on a few menus around town but we can only expect to see more as 2022 moves forward!

It's time to start exploring international flavors with heat, types of salt, and spice from Europe to the Middle East and North Africa that are taking over menus in all the big cities from coast to coast.

We can source these new and exciting spices with just a few days' lead time!


Urfa is a smoky-sweet, mildly hot chile with an unusual drying process, retaining natural oils and humidity.

Turkish chile pepper that's distinctive for its dark burgundy color, irregularly sized flakes, and intriguing salty-sweet-smoky-sour flavor.

It has these notes of chocolate and wine tannins with a very pleasant heat. They’re not completely sweet. Something about the oiliness and the heat and the deep red color—it’s one of those things that you can pretty much add to anything.

Urfa is delicious sprinkled on vegetables, eggs, salads, and meat. You can also blend it with cumin, onion powder, cardamom, or ginger for a great spice blend to use in soups and rubs for meat.


Berbere is a popular Ethiopian spice blend with a coarse earthy texture. A versatile ingredient, berbere is a spicy mix of dried spices that are used to flavor stews made with any combination of meat, vegetables, or legumes. With s

picy, sweet, and citrus notes come together to create a complex seasoning that adds flavor to everything from protein to fruit.

The key ingredients are usually red chili peppers, fenugreek, and ginger, with the addition of warm spices like coriander, cardamom, allspice, cumin, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon,

Grains of Paradise

The exotic, delightful flavor of Grains of Paradise has been described as a blend of ginger, cardamom, and pepper. Add to curry dishes, coffee or tea, or grind and sprinkle as you would pepper.

Grains of paradise is an aromatic spice that looks like peppercorns with origins in West Africa. Packing a light, peppery heat, using grains of paradise seeds is a mouthwatering way to season myriad dishes. It can be used in place of black pepper for a much more complex flavor, added to spice rubs, braises, spice cakes, or gingerbread, or even mixed into apple pie filling!

Gochugaru or Korean Chili Flake

Gochugaru has gentle heat, nowhere near as hot as an equivalent amount of crushed red pepper flakes more like poblano- or jalapeño-level hot.

Gochugaru has so much more to offer with its fruity, smoky, and sweet smell and flavor. It’s the ingredient that gives kimchi its signature heat and color!

White Pepper

White pepper is made from fully ripe pepper berries. They are soaked in water for about 10 days, leading to fermentation. Then their skins are removed, which also removes some of the hot piperine compound, as well as volatile oils and compounds that give black pepper its aroma.

The flavor of white pepper is often described as musty, grassy, or slightly fermented. It's generally considered milder than black pepper.


Japanese seasoning is typically made with toasted sesame seeds, nori, salt, sugar

is a savory Japanese rice seasoning that's used as an all-purpose condiment in Japan used on everything from rice to salads to pasta.

The name literally means “sprinkled over,” and its concentrated umami-rich flavor makes it well suited for topping much more than rice.

Although furikake is traditionally used to season rice, it is an all-purpose seasoning that can be tossed on salads, mixed with steamed vegetables, added to sauces and soups, and sprinkled on popcorn or french fries.


Sumac is a spice that is popular in the Middle East. It is related to the poisonous shrub by the same name, but the culinary variety is safe to use and easily identifiable by its vibrant red berries (poisonous sumac is white)

The berries are turned into a coarse powder and sold as a ground spice this versatile seasoning adds bright red color and a tartness, similar to lemon juice, to a dish.

This sweet but sour taste is followed by an astringent powerful punch. While having a diverse flavor profile, sumac still blends exceptionally well with other spices such as allspice, chili, thyme, and cumin.

Fleur De Sel

Because of its delicate nature and higher price relative to other salts, fleur de sel isn't meant for seasoning a dish while you cook it. If you expose it to high temperatures, it will melt and lose its unique character.

Instead, you should use sprinkles of fleur de sel on anything that needs a little extra oomph right before it's consumed: salads, fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, and dessert.

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