No matter what your culinary skill level may be, every cook needs a selection of good quality spices. Nothing can change a dish from bland to breathtaking quicker than a good dose of seasoning and, for me, the supermarket blends just don’t cut it. I’ve been deeply envious of some of the spice stores I’ve seen in other cities, hunting them down when travelling, spending ages poking around in their fragrant depths and then crossing my fingers and hoping that AQIS don’t take my treasures away from me when I declare them on re-entering the country. My other spice option has been to purchase them online, from an interstate source, but those days are over now that Rubyspice is in town!
Rubyspice is the creation of Adelaide woman Jackie Singh, a fellow student of mine in the Le Cordon Bleu Masters of Gastronomy course, whom I ran into after some years when she was one of the new South Australian food producers featured at the recent Cellar Door Wine Festival. Jackie is passionate about flavour in her food and, like me, was dissatisfied with commercially produced spices.
Using culinary skills learned first from her grandmother and later from her mother in law, she had been concocting her own blends and hunting down reliable sources for good quality spices for quite some time. What began as a culinary preference stretched out into a four year labour of love and a very steep climb up the learning curve. In December 2014, after heeding the urgings of friends and family, Jackie launched Rubyspice – World Spice Emporium.
Launching with her online store first, Jackie offers a range of her own beautifully packaged spice blends – each one carefully curated using only the very best premium spices. We are all aware of the current trend for “fresh and local” when it comes to our food, but this can never apply to spices which are generally quite the opposite – dried and global. The most important factors to take into consideration when sourcing spices is their quality, freshness, purity and hygienic storage – all details which Jackie has taken great pains to ensure.
And this attention to detail doesn’t stop with the actual product – the gorgeous packaging ensures that the product will remain at optimum condition when on your shelf. Seeking to embody the traditional characteristics of spices, the branding has also been carefully designed to incorporate the pineapple, a traditional symbol of warmth and welcome, with the depth and mystery of the precious ruby, Jackie’s favourite gemstone.
Jackie’s online selection of blends includes spice mixes that run the gamut of culinary traditions from Indian, North African, Mediterranean, Caribbean and more. She also offers premium quality single spices which are available on request, just drop her a line and she will package up the required amount. Most exciting for me, though, is that Jackie is finalising the design of her own retail store. What was her commercial kitchen and blending space will, by the middle of the year, be Adelaide’s very own spice emporium.
At her Rubyspice store Jackie wants to extend the spice experience for her customers. She is keen to share her love for good quality, tasty, but simple food and wants to help others discover the joy of cooking with spices. The popularity of television cooking shows has made many home cooks much more adventurous in the kitchen and the new Rubyspice store will not only offer a full range of her products, but also recipe ideas, cooking classes and blending sessions for those who want to personalise their spice blends.
While chatting with me she talked of more exciting products which she wants to add to her range. I’m not giving any of her secrets away, but I can say that I will be one of the first on her doorstep on the day she opens up – and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks Adelaide is well and truly ready for our own spice market.