The Role of the Silk Road in Ethiopian Cooking

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When we think of “origin story,” our favorite super heroes might come to mind. Of course, origin stories aren’t exclusive to our crime-fighting titans. The spices in your cabinet, for example, are a result of trading that took place thousands of years ago. Who knew your spice rack was so well traveled?

All (Silk Roads) Lead Home

Traveling tends to transform you into someone different than before. The same can be said for spices that traveled along the Silk Road, an ancient trade route linking China and the West. In fact, this is how the iconic Ethiopian staple spice berbere came to be.

Bring on the Berbere

With 5th-century merchants traveling through China, Egypt, Somalia, Arabia, Persia, India, and Java, the Horn of Africa was exposed to a variety of new spices, including red chili peppers, fenugreek, ginger, coriander, cardamom, allspice, cumin, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, korarima, ajwain, and long pepper.

Loving a culinary experiment, Ethiopian cooks and households began mixing these blends to their liking, eventually creating the complex, citrusy berbere spice blend that Ethiopian households have handed down through generations. With our RawSpiceBar Berbere Blend, you can take this ancient, beloved spice blend and make it your own, continuing the tradition of sharing deeply flavorful food throughout the world.

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