Our Philosophy

We truly believe that it’s time spices were treated with the same attention we give to other ingredients. Coffee, for example, has come a long way in recent years – gourmet whole-bean coffees in a huge range of varieties are not difficult to find, and most people understand the benefits of grinding fresh. The same can be said for loose-leaf teas. But we haven’t yet taken those steps with spices. Almost everybody has a cupboard full of old, stale spices from the supermarket. When you’re taking the time and care to start a dish with quality ingredients, stale, pre-ground spices are not going to do the food justice. Good, fresh spices can take your dish from ordinary to incredible – the difference is truly amazing.

This is the starting point for The Silk Road. We love to talk to our customers about spices and we try to inspire the same passion that coffee lovers have for their beans. We encourage our customers to buy spices often in small batches to make sure they are as fresh as possible. We offer our spices in jars or refill bags so you can always buy just the right amount to fill your jars. If you use a lot of something, we also have larger bulk bags available.

We also strongly recommend grinding spices fresh whenever possible. We offer grinders, graters and mortars in our accessories section to help with this. Freshly ground spices are worlds apart from pre-ground ones, and it’s the single easiest way to make a huge difference in your cooking. It’s also a lot more fun than just dipping into a jar with a teaspoon. In our kitchen, the mortar and the spice grinder are just as essential as the knife or the pan.

The most important part of our philosophy is that we really want people to experiment and enjoy their spices. There are endless possibilities – all it takes is the realization that spices can be a whole lot more than uninspiring jars of red, brown and green dust.


4 thoughts on “Our Philosophy

  1. I’m also curious to know if your spices have been irradiated. I’ve bought a lot and would be disappointed if that was the case.

    • We choose to buy non-irradiated spices whenever possible. Irradiation is a process by which spices are exposed to small amounts of radiation, which kills any bacteria or micro-organisms that may be on the spices. The spices themselves do not retain any of the radiation and studies have shown this process to be completely harmless to humans. No radiation is detectable in or on the spices after the fact. It’s a process similar to pasteurization.

      In any case, some people feel strongly that they don’t want to use spices that have been subjected to this. It is, however, still necessary for some spices that are particularly susceptible to micro-organisms (chiles in particular). In these instances we will bring in irradiated products when we are unable to find sources that are highest-quality and also meet the Canadian Food Inspection Agency standards for importation into Canada.

      Only 6 of our products are currently irradiated: Hungarian paprika, smoked bittersweet paprika, ground guajillo chiles, ground jalapeno chiles, ground pasilla chiles, and pink peppercorns.

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