The Places we look for flavours
Henry Lewis launched the MasterFoods brand in 1945 with a vision that food is more than just fuel, it’s part of the pleasure of life. It’s a belief we still hold dear today, which is why we go to the corners of the earth to bring you authentic tastes and flavours. We go to Peru for our paprika. Our oregano, thyme and bay leaves come from tiny villages in Turkey. The Guatemalan rainforest is home to our cardamom. Our whole cloves and vanilla bean comes from Madagascar. And our cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka and India. These are just a handful of the places we go to bring you the best quality herbs and spices.
Saffron is one of the oldest and most expensive spices in the world. Legend has it Cleopatra used it both as makeup to colour her face and as a fragrance. In India, saffron is still used as a medicine for nausea and it’s used for only the most important Hindu religious celebrations as an offering to the gods. This spice is used sparingly because of its cost. Grown in Iran, Asia and Spain, it takes 570 threads to make one gram of saffron and 190 dried stigmas from the saffron crocus flowers are needed.
Our Vanilla Beans
Vanilla bean is one of the most expensive spices on the planet and in some areas farmers tattoo the beans to stop theft. Vanilla is the only fruit bearing member of the orchid family and it takes 18 months to grow and dry out a vanilla bean. The bean is sweated, dried and turned over each day by hand to allow it to caramelize in the sun. The pods are then stored for 5-6 months in closed boxes where the wonderful fragrance develops. We source our vanilla bean from Madagascar.
Our Bay Leaves
In ancient times, Romans considered bay leaves to be a symbol of glory. They were also believed to alleviate bee and wasp stings. Today, they are used to alleviate hunger in casseroles, soups, and tomato-based sauces. MasterFoods Bay Leaves come from small villages in Turkey, where the farmers take great care to ensure the fragile leaf remains in one piece.