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Flavours of the Land: Exploring Australian Herbs and Spices

By Joseph Steele.

Australia is blessed with a wildly diverse array of native flora. From the lush rainforests to the dynamic heart of the deserts, our plant life is not only a feast for the eyes, but also a treasure trove of unique flavours. This is not a new concept - First Nations people have seasoned local cuisine with bush flavours for millennia and with a burgeoning interest in native culinary experimentation, Australian herbs and spices are taking centre stage.

Ingredients such as wattleseed, with its coffee aroma and nutty flavour, are popping up in gourmet dishes. Mountain pepper berries bringing a sweet, intense peppery bite are finding their way onto the plates of diners, bringing a whole new dimension to the dining experience. Bush tomato is the small and earthy fruit that has been a secret staple in many fine dining kitchens; dried, it has a strong sun-dried tomato flavour with back notes of caramel and tamarind.

Flavours of the Land: Exploring Australian Herbs and Spices

Davidson’s Plum is a remarkably versatile fruit. Sitting somewhere between herb, spice and fruit, it is used similarly to tart spices. Deeply purple with a sour flavour that adds an indistinguishable brightness to preserves and savoury dishes, Davidson’s plum enriches the overall dish. Aniseed myrtle is becoming more frequently used - boasting a strong aniseed-scented leaf that pairs excellently with seafood, this flavourful spice is robust in every sense.

These ingredients have a deeper connection to the land, history and culture of Australia. They are a link to the songlines – the lore and heritage that map the cultural and spiritual lay of the land.

The variety of native herbs and spices is becoming more prevalent in the modern Chef’s pantry. These delicious elements offer new flavours to the palate and are unmatched by the usual culinary suspects.

Flavours of the Land: Exploring Australian Herbs and Spices

Among these, the Australian Bush Herbs blend from Gewürzhaus is a standout. The mix harmoniously blends lemon myrtle, bush tomato, native thyme, aniseed myrtle and a host of intriguing aromatics into one brilliantly versatile mix. Think bright, citrusy flavours mellowing out to a spiced, deep, full flavour. Perfect for marinating meats like kangaroo or lamb, sprinkled over vegetables or even serving with fish, the blend is an easy way to elevate your meals.

Lovingly curated, this blend embodies the spirit of the Australian landscape. As your at-home passport to an authentic bush experience, this blend will capture your palate and transform the most simple of ingredients. Use it to season a slow-roasted lamb shoulder and infuse the meat with a delicacy that hints at the wild, open spaces and crisp air of the Australian bush.

Native Australian herbs and spices are increasingly available and for the better. Specialty stores and online retailers, like Gewürzhaus, are ensuring easy access to these exquisite flavours. Champions of the indigenous community and food savants such as Matt Moncreiff and Mindy Woods are shining a much-deserved spotlight on making native ingredients accessible, sustainable and respecting the cultural heritage of these beautiful products.

The increasing demand for these products and the further usage of native ingredients in cooking is a testament to a broader movement that values sustainability, cultural respect and culinary innovation. As modern Australian cuisine continues to evolve these flavours will play a pivotal role in defining its identity on a global stage.

It's long overdue, but it's time to embrace the flavours of native ingredients.

Dive into the aromatic world of Australian botanicals with a pinch of curiosity and a spoonful of adventure. Trying new blends like the Australian Bush Herbs or experimenting with other combinations, these flavours will transform your cooking experience. Discover, taste and connect to the heart of Australian cuisine.

Gewürzhaus offers 250 spices, herbs, salts, peppers, teas and sugars from around the world, and more than100 exclusive small-batch blends. Shop now.
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