So long, farewell…

Folks, can I just tell you how wonderful it’s been being a Spice Islands Flavor Explorer? My stint is almost up (rumor has it that a pretty fantastic guy is taking over the reins) but I just wanted to take a moment to say how I’ve had so much fun in the kitchen with Spice Islands over the past three months. It’s been a pleasure dreaming up recipes using their high quality spices but perhaps my favorite moments have been using their all natural Vanilla Extract. While many other brands add corn syrup, Spice Islands vanilla beans from Madagascar are carefully processed, resulting in an extract that doesn’t need anything but vanilla. Seriously though, try it and taste it for yourself.

But just as important as the flavor are the people at Spice Islands. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and it’s been an honor to meet such dedicated people behind the brand. Sometimes I wish everyone could get to know them!

As a quick farewell, I’ll be giving away five Spice Islands samplers, filled with a few of my favorite spices in a beautiful trunk. Check out all this spicy goodness:

Spice Islands pure vanilla extract
Spice Islands ground Saigon cinnamon
Spice Islands ground cardamom
Spice Islands Chinese five spice
Spice Islands smoked paprika
Spice Islands Telicherry black peppercorn
Spice Islands sea salt

I really want you to get in your kitchen and try these spices (if you haven’t already!) so leave a comment below about the delicious creations you’ll be cooking or baking if you’re one of the five lucky winners.  Good luck!

The Fine Print (Giveaway Rules): To enter, leave a comment below before midnight on Thursday, March 17. On Friday, I’ll use a random number generator to select five winners and contact you for shipping information via the email address you provided when you posted your comment.  The contest is open to U.S. residents only. Click here for full contest rules.

UPDATE: Thanks for all of your comments! We will be notifying the winners by email today. For a list of winners, please send an email to

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42 Responses to So long, farewell…

  1. Molly says:

    I think I need those puppies in my kitchen. And when I say “puppies” I mean “spices.”

  2. Pingback: A Long Farewell

  3. Ellen says:

    I would make salted caramels and salted truffles, and any other excuse to sprinkle sea salt on something. I have never had sea salt in my cabinet before, but constantly drool over them in the store. I’d also try to mix up my own chai and first dry rub. Then I’d sneak what ever is left into sweet desserts and toss out all of my old adulterated vanilla.

  4. robin says:

    free spices always welcome!

  5. Sarah R says:

    Yum, I adore smoked paprika :)

  6. Melanie says:

    Love those spices!

  7. Erin says:

    I would love to try these spices!

  8. Ellie says:

    Nice recipes on this blog! Would love to win these spices, so classy!

  9. Rebecca says:

    I think the first spice I’d use would be the smoked paprika. I’m thinking a creamy paprika-spiced sauce on top of some chicken ravioli on a bed of steamed kale.

  10. Cyndi Louden says:

    Thanks for your posts. I can’t wait to try your French Toast recipe with my grandson. Like you I have fond memories of French Toast from my childhood…and I would like to make new memories of it with my grandson. Thanks for the recipe!!!

  11. Donel Payne says:

    Wow, great spices. I’m thinking about some apple cinnamon bread or maybe some fried rice with the Chinese five spice.

  12. Kathleen says:

    Love a blog that concentrates on specific ingredients.

  13. Gina E says:

    I have exactly two jars of spices in my dorm kitchen right now, so more would be very welcome!

  14. karine says:

    What a great give away, it will be fun finding application for all of these lovely spices. I have not used chinese 5 spice in ages.

  15. AM says:

    I would like to try out some Chinese recipes with the spices!

  16. Shari says:

    I bake a lot, so I’m always using vanilla, and I will only use REAL vanilla. I don’t recall ever seeing Spice Island vanilla in the stores in my area. (I live in Idaho) A few stores do carry Spice Island spices (which I always buy), but I have never seen any extracts. I would love to find more recipes using cardamom, -it’s quite the exotic spice in my neck of the woods. : )

  17. Sarah says:

    I would make salted caramels, finally try an apple cardamom cake recipe, eat lots of cinnamon sprinkled oatmeal and dive into stir fry with the peppercorns and five spice. These spices sound delicious as does the vanilla bean poached fish below.

  18. Thea says:

    I love toasting spices in my cast iron pan on top of the stove. Bears close watching, and don’t let the smoke start — you’ll discover a new layer of flavor to work with. Right now, I’m getting out tumeric, cumin, paprika, a smidge of cinnamon to toast and blend into squash puree.

  19. Nancy cadet says:

    Cinnamon is my favorite spice. I just had a wonderful Moroccan soup called Harira, and the undertone of cinnamon made it something very special.

    thanks for your great observations, tips and recipes. Merci et a bientôt.

  20. Rachel says:

    Wow, what a great giveaway. I love the Saigon cinnamon, but would be so excited to try the smoked paprika. Sounds lovely.

  21. Marta says:

    Where exactly is the “mediterranean” sea salt from? Doesn’t look flaky…I would love to make “pretty fantastic guy’s” Breton buckwheat cake and dulce de leche!

  22. Guia says:

    I have spices from Spice Islands! Deeply flavored, quality spices – truly enhances my cooking.

  23. Kat S says:

    I think that paprika, sea salt, and black peppercorn would be a great addition to roasted potatoes.

  24. Spice Islands says:

    Hi Marta! We collect our Spice Islands® sea salt from the low waters of the Mediterranean. It comes from several places, but the majority is from France. It is washed with a clean saturated brine to remove impurities and dried over low heat. You will see occasional black/brown specks in the salt which is natural.

  25. Debra Hartmann says:

    My husband grows grapes in the summer, and I like to make Vietnamese style grape leaves stuffed with beef. That means finding Chinese 5-spice powder–it makes the dish! All right, there’s the appetizer. Next, paprika chips with roasted garlic-cumin aoli. A nice salad, maybe with a little goat cheese and fresh ground black pepper. Now, what about pistachio and Saigon cinnamon custard for dessert?
    Thanks for your recipes!

  26. Melinda O says:

    These all sound amazing…and as I finally used the last of the paprika I brought back from Budapest, the smoked paprika would surely be valued — I’ve really been using paprika on everything, even ‘every-day’ foods (on sweet potato fries, with catsup, for example). And last christmas I devised a spice cookie with cardamom as the primary spice…how delicious would it be to have quality spices to use for this recipe! Count me in!

  27. wendy kehoe says:

    Hi Matt,
    This is such a great blog! I’d love to win that spice collection too~I’d be making incredible cinnamon scones with the Saigon Cinnamon, David Lebovitz’ vanilla ice cream with the vanilla, and Indian chicken curry with cardamon! And would look forward to discovering and trying new dishes with the Chinese five spice and smoked paprika! Of course, the sea salt and black peppercorns on everything in between!
    Anyway, thanks! I’m looking foward to checking out MattBites.
    Wendy Kehoe

  28. Patti Clevenson says:

    Enjoyed your posts and would love to try the smoked paprika in my vegetable stews I’m constantly making. I imagine it would do well as a bacon replacement. And the cardamom I would use in my oatmeal cookies.

  29. Susan says:

    I just stumbled upon this site. Looks great and ooow would I love to win some new spices to experiment with. I just moved back from London so my cupboards are bare. Need help!

  30. Alexis says:

    I normally do more baking than cooking but I’d definitely be searching out some yummy recipes to use with new spices if I won! I already know the Saigon Cinnamon is superior, got even better raves from family on the baked goods i used it in than I had the time before w/another brand.

  31. Megan says:

    I’d love to make some M&M cookies made with high quality vanilla, or chocolate-covered salted butter caramels (David’s recipe) with a pinch of sea salt on top, like Fran’s.

  32. Madi C says:

    Great spices! I found a recipe for sherry-garlic soup that I’ve been meaning try with smoked paprika, and the sea salt and pepper would have to make an appearance with roasted eggplant and cherry tomatoes.

  33. Jessica says:

    I’d love to try the Saigon Cinnamon, I don’t think I’ve ever tasted it before!

  34. Allison says:

    I’ll have to make cinnamon scones, and probably some Szechuan-inspired soup with the Chinese spice and peppercorns. Sea salt is a staple in all of my cooking.

  35. Maria says:

    Looking forward to trying some of the other Spice islands spices. It is available here locally. Thanks!

  36. Michele Cohen says:

    I’d like the challenge of trying to use all the spices in one recipe!

  37. Daniel Scarpace says:

    OOOh I need to replace my outdated smoked paprika!

  38. Adele Klingberg says:

    A welcome to David but so sad to see you go. Why not have both of you. That would be nice.
    Thanks for your writings.
    It would be so nice to have some of these flavorings in my vast spice cabinet.
    Thanks again

  39. Sarah S. says:

    Oh I love Spice Islands! I really love the cardamom, we use it all the time to make Abelskivers!!!! Overall I just love the quality that Spice Islands is known for!!!

  40. nik says:

    Fabulous collection…sorry I missed this! It would be perfect for making different flavors of hummus. Congrats to the winner and all the best to Matt!

  41. kim salyers says:

    I make the best snickerdoddle cookies because I use Spice Island Cinnamon. Love it…

  42. FAYE STAMPER says:

    Hello Matt, I love to cook. And, my culinary delights include tasty chicken tacos flavored with cumin, chipotle, and seasoned salt.

    Also, I use Cinnamon, nutmeg and raw sugar with my sweet potatoes with Vanilla extract to creat an awesome Sweet Potato Entree. My friends love it.

    Faye Stameper