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Posted by Claire

Howdy, folks.

For our non-Calgarian readers, today is the first day of the 2015 Calgary Stampede, which is a 10-day celebration of everything Western. If the hot weather didn’t already have us dreaming about backyard barbeques and summer drinks, this definitely moved those things to the top of our priority list. In honour of that, we’ve released two videos showcasing easy ways to incorporate spices and bitters into your summer entertaining.

 

The first video addresses a common question we get at the Calgary shop — namely, how to use our steak spices (or any dry rub) to season a steak.

 

The second demonstrates a Silk Road twist on the classic Caesar, Calgary’s most iconic cocktail. It’s called the “Hell and High Water” as a nod to the 2013 floods that inundated both the Stampede grounds and our neighbourhood, and we’ve played on the name by enhancing the seafood elements of the drink.

 

If you’d like to read up on the spices we use in the videos, here are the links to their descriptions on our website:

Have a safe Stampede, everyone. Yeehaw!

 

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Those with good memories will know that way back in February, we announced that we would be opening a shop in Edmonton. We made the announcement because we had signed a lease and word was getting out whether we wanted it to or not. But we knew that we wouldn’t be ready to open until late summer at the earliest, and since February, the team has been fielding near-daily inquiries from impatient spice lovers in beautiful Edmonton.

Well, it’s been a long summer and we’re a few weeks behind schedule, but the wait is finally over! Silk Road Edmonton officially opens tomorrow, October 9.

We couldn’t be more excited for this. We have a great new team here in Edmonton. They’ve been on the job for about a week, setting up, stocking the shelves, getting to know the spices, getting to know the business and the way we operate, and getting to know how to push each other’s buttons. It’s really an amazing group and they are going to be very psyched to start talking to customers tomorrow.

Of course, store openings always come with a few hiccups. For the first week or two, there may be some holes on the shelves while we work on getting everything stocked up. In particular, we will have no botanical roots and herbs and only a very rudimentary selection of bitters. These things will arrive once we have the basics sorted out.

There will also be ongoing efforts at furnishing and decorating the shop. Store-front signage, a cabinet worthy of our bitters and cocktail supplies, a larger selection of books: all these things will be coming. But for now, the space looks totally amazing and we can’t believe what a transformation is it from how it looked when we took possession. Hopefully you agree.

We’re really, really excited to be opening, so make sure you come in to check it out and say hi. We have every reason to believe that Edmonton is going to be a great fit with The Silk Road and we can’t wait to get to know the food community here.

We’re located at 10818 82nd Ave. NW (Whyte Ave near the corner of 109th St.).

The exact hours will be a little up in the air until after Thanksgiving, but for now are Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday 12pm-5pm.

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The holidays at Silk Road keep everyone on their toes and nose to nose.

The holidays at Silk Road keep everyone on their toes and nose to nose.

Christmas is fast-approaching, and our shop is bustling with activity. We’re working extra hard to keep the shelves stocked up, and most of us have put together hundreds of gifts sets. It’s a lot of fun, but sometimes we do get overwhelmed, especially on the weekends. So if you are stopping by when it’s especially busy, please be patient if we have line ups or if you need to wait a few minutes to get our attention. We’ll often have mulled apple cider (made with our own mulling spices) available on the weekends in our Inglewood shop, so make sure you grab a cup to drink while you’re browsing.

The holiday hours for our Inglewood Store are:

Saturday December 21st – 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday December 22nd – 12 pm to 5 pm
Monday December 23rd – 10 noon to 5 pm
Tuesday December 24th – 10 am to 1 pm

The hours for our Calgary Farmers’ Market stall are as usual until December 22nd, and then:

Open Monday December 23rd 9 am – 5 pm
Closed December 24th
Re-opening January 9, 2014

The main shop will be closed from 1 pm on Tuesday, December 24th through Wednesday January 1st to give our employees a well-deserved break. If you place an online order during this time it won’t be filled until we get back. We’ll be open for business as usual in on Thursday, January 2nd, 2014. However, the Calgary Farmers’ Market does not reopen until January 9th.

Thank you to all our friends, our families, and of course our customers. It’s been an amazing year, and we are overwhelmed by the support and kind words we’ve received from all of you about our spices and how they are making your cooking more exciting and more delicious. We wish you all the best over the holidays, and are excited for all that will come in 2014.

Happy Holidays!

Kelci, Colin & all The Silk Road Staff

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PepperWe are excited to host a contest to win Marjorie Shaffer’s Pepper: A History of the World’s Most Influential Spice. Today, pepper is a spice common to most kitchens and widely used as a ‘must’ seasoning along with its salty counterpart for almost every dish, but this spicy dried berry has not always been so easy to come by.

Pepper illuminates the rich history of pepper for a popular audience. Vivid and entertaining, it describes the part pepper played in bringing the Europeans, and later the Americans, to Asia and details the fascinating encounters they had there.”

“From the abundance of wildlife on the islands of the Indian Ocean, which the Europeans used as stepping stones to India and the East Indies, to colorful accounts of the sultan of Banda Aceh entertaining his European visitors with great banquets and elephant fights, this fascinating book reveals the often surprising story behind one of mankind’s most common spices.”

To enter our contest, all you have to do is leave us a comment on our blog below, and tell us how pepper changed your life, or at least made your food taste better. Whether it’s sitting down to your morning eggs and adding a sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper to make you smile, or a perfectly braised pink peppercorn dish that has been in your family for decades, we want you to share your food moments with us. On Friday, June 28th, we will put all the entries in a spice tin, and draw for the lucky winner! The winner will be contacted via social media and asked to provide an address for us to send the book. This draw is limited to one entry per person, so tell all your friends and family.

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As Mark Pendergrast, author of Uncommon Grounds, said, “After reading Marjorie Shaffer’s Pepper, you’ll reconsider the significance of that grinder or shaker on your dining room table. The pursuit of this wizened berry with the bite changed history in ways you’ve never dreamed, involving extraordinary voyages, international trade, exotic locales, exploitation, brutality, disease, extinctions, and rebellions, and featuring a set of remarkable characters.”

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Submitted by Candace Bergman

Ladies, girlfriends, mothers, daughters, and besties it’s a lovely night to take a stroll up, and then down, the historical Inglewood sidewalks to check out all the fabulous and unique shops. What better night to grab all your girls than tonight when the Inglewood BRZ is hosting Girls Night in Inglewood from 5:00pm until 9:00pm. All store owners participating will be offering deals of 10% discounts, gifts with purchase or snacks and beverages.

We will be offering 10% off all of our spices and spice blends and offering fresh popped popcorn with your choice of seasoning blend.

See you tonight!

Girls Night Out 2013 poster

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LadiesNightBasketWe love our moms, and we know you do, too.

We’ve put together some of our favourite spices and spice blends to make up this gift basket full of delightful flavour. We think it’s a fitting gift for any Mom. So, come down to the Inglewood store and for every $30 spent you will receive a ballot to enter to win. There is no limit to how many times you enter this draw, so get your wandering shoes on and head down to the store.

The winner will be drawn, contacted and announced Facebook and on Twitter on Friday, May 10th, 2013 at 5:00pm.

Here’s what’s is in the basket:

ROSEMARY MINT LAMB RUB This simple rub starts with the traditional English idea that mint pairs well with lamb and takes it a bit further with cracked and ground rosemary. Add in some garlic, onion, black pepper and coarse sea salt, and you have a mixture of flavours and textures that is the perfect way to quickly and easily season lamb, whether it’s a roast, a chop or even a burger. Or a meatball. Or put it in a stew. It’s up to you, really.

APPLE PIE SPICE Our Apple Pie Spice is hand-blended from Vietnamese Saigon cinnamon, Sri Lankan true cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom and cloves. Its delicious warm flavour will make your apple pie better than ever, but why stop there? Try adding some to waffle batter or apple-oatmeal muffins. It’s also perfect in apple crisp and spice cakes.

HERBES DE PROVENCE Herbes de Provence, sometimes called Provençal herbs, comes from the region of Provence in the south of France. The warm summer weather in this area is excellent for growing herbs, and anyone who has traveled to Provence in the summer will remember the vibrant, purple lavender fields. Lavender is the herb that gives this blend its distinctive scent, and it works beautifully with the other herbs: thyme, marjoram, savory, oregano and rosemary.

Chicken, fish and potatoes are especially good with Herbes de Provence, but this blend can be added to any other meat as well as a huge variety of soups and sauces. It’s excellent on game meats like elk and venison, and it is delicious in recipes with red wine sauces.

MAPLE-SMOKE SALMON RUB Our Maple-Smoke Salmon Rub is a quintessential Canadian east/west spice blend for salmon. It’s a delicately balanced, deliciously sweet and savoury rub that evokes both ends of the country and meshes perfectly with the flavour of good salmon. It’s blended with some of our premium ingredients: 100% pure granulated maple sugar, turbinado sugar, red alder-smoked sea salt, coarse sea salt, coriander, black pepper, lemon peel, mustard, garlic and onion. It forms a nice crust on the salmon when used as a dry rub, but it can also be sprinkled as a general seasoning on just about anything. Try it on steamed asparagus or green beans. We particularly like this one on salmon barbequed or baked on a cedar plank. Eat it outside if you can.

MADAGASGAR VANILLA BEANS Bourbon vanilla beans have a rich, creamy flavour and are the ones most commonly called for in recipes. If you want the flavour of a good-quality vanilla ice cream, this is the vanilla bean for you. Bourbon beans come from the same species of orchid as Mexican vanilla beans, but are often better quality.

To use a vanilla bean, cut it in half lengthwise with a sharp knife, and then use the knife to scrape out the sticky black seeds or “caviar” inside. The whole lot – seeds and pod – are often simmered in cream for a custard or pudding. If you’re not using the empty pod, though, put it in a jar of granulated sugar for a few weeks to make your own vanilla sugar, or lay the pods over halved pieces of fruit and bake in the oven for a delicious dessert.

The total value of the basket is $50.00. Enter in-store only at 1403a 9th Ave. S.E. from May 2 – May 10th, 2013.

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food”.
—George Bernard Shaw

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spice-collage-3

The colourful and fragrant mix of herbs and spices, Candace and Colin hand blending, and Amanda Bonner of the Calgary Farmers’ Market filling each jar.

Recently, we had some friends pop by the store to make a special Anniversary blend for the Calgary Farmers’ Market. Leilani wrote a great blog about the process of coming up this special blend.

Click the link to read more!

Follow the Fragrant Silk Road.

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