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Use of sweet and savoury spices: When sweet meets salty


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If you’ve grown up with Austrian cuisine, you could easily think that sweet spices have no place in savoury dishes. However, you can learn a lot about the creative use of cinnamon, vanilla and co. all over the world.

Life can be so sweet

Anyone who has ever tried salted caramel knows that the complex flavour arising from the combination of sweet and savoury elements is a real treat for the palate. Especially in Far Eastern country cuisines, this pairing can often be found on the menu. So why not experiment with it? Here are the most prominent spices that are an ideal fit.

Cinnamon: When warmth meets spice

At first glance, cinnamon is mainly associated with apple strudel, semolina porridge and Christmas cookies. Yet, cinnamon is an incredibly versatile spice that goes extremely well with other spices, creating a wide range of exciting flavours. Cinnamon likes to team up with ginger, nutmeg, coriander or chilli and plays an important role in these teams, especially in oriental cuisine.

In Morocco, cinnamon is a welcome guest in spicy stews, which are given a unique depth by its warm note. A hint of cinnamon in a lamb curry gives the dish a subtle touch of exoticism. And Turkish Köfte tend to only become a true highlight with the addition of cinnamon.

Have a go at adding cinnamon to side dishes such as rice or roast vegetables, and give it a chance to show its full effect in casseroles. As a general rule, you can add cinnamon to all meat dishes – either those with minced meat or those with a high amount of sauce – to create a completely new experience.

Lamb curry and spices

Vanilla: Delicately sweet accents

Similarly, vanilla is much more than a dessert ingredient. Particularly with an eye across the pond, vanilla has a much wider range of uses: in Mexican cuisine, for example, it adds a pleasant sweetness and depth to pork or chicken marinades.
We recommend incorporating vanilla into creamy soups and hearty stews: The fine spice goes particularly well with sweet vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin or lentils and should be given enough time to blossom. It is also well suited for side dishes and turns rice or quinoa into something special.
By the way: Viennese vanilla roast has nothing to do with vanilla, because instead of vanilla it contains a lot of garlic. This is because at the time of its invention, vanilla was very expensive and garlic was called the “little man’s vanilla”. But that doesn’t change the fact that vanilla can also play an exciting role in roasts!
Dried vanilla

Cloves: Intense flavour

The strong taste of cloves is not only reserved for Christmas cookies. Cloves are an integral part of Indian cuisine, where they are a basic ingredient in spice mixtures such as garam masala.
If you want to try out exciting culinary creations with cloves, try cooking a few whole cloves in a bean stew, for example. The taste becomes richer and more velvety. Cloves also provide a warming sweetness in hearty sauces and soups.

Just try it out

With vanilla, cinnamon or cloves, the key to using them creatively in savoury cooking is always to create subtle nuances that complement the flavours of the main ingredients without overpowering them. Start with small amounts and work your way up to finding the perfect balance. We’re sure you’ll put a new spin on established dishes – and surprise and amaze your guests.

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