The french art of spices
A word from the founder, Olivier Roellinger
« We create spice blends to allow everyone to make the most of the wide range of spices available, to cook produce from the land and the sea in new and exciting ways.
Just as a ‘nose’ would for perfume, we create blends of between seven and twenty-four spices for use in both everyday cooking and festive meals. These creations allow us to express the adventurous, seafaring spirit of Saint-Malo and share with you the call of the sea and distant lands, far beyond the horizon. These blends of spices, herbs and seaweeds are the signature of our style of marine and vegetable-based cuisine that has been the gateway to adventure since 1982.
I have been sharing this adventure with my wife Jane for over thirty years. We are now accompanied by our children: Mathilde, through her research, and Hugo, through his ethical and joyful cooking.
In the warehouse shops, our crew members will advise you on how to season your dishes and associate the natural flavours and aromas of our blends to make your dishes sing in your mouth ».
Olivier Roellinger, founder of Épices Roellinger et Maisons de Bricourt
Spices to punctuate our cooking
« We are a family of cooks with a taste for spices because they are part of Saint-Malo’s history, which we pass on through our cuisine and the spice blends we design together. »
« Spices, ever delicate, give a dish rhythm in the much same way that punctuation does to a literary text. »
During the seventeenth century, Saint-Malo was the French East India Company’s main trading port. Alongside the silk fabrics and celadon pottery to be found within walls of the Corsair City were spices from the Orient and the New World.
In 1983, Olivier Roellinger decided to use spices in his cuisine as an aromatic palette which he combined with Saint-Malo’s seaport culture. Today, Hugo continues the adventure with a style of his own at Coquillage, Maisons de Bricourt’s restaurant.
Spice blends designed like perfumes
All over the world, single spices are very rarely used alone, with the exception of pepper. Spices are consistently used in blends of three to twenty. A spice used on its own would overpower a dish whereas a blend of spices can provide the perfect balance.
Olivier Roellinger creates the spice blends as new flavours in their own right, just as professional ‘noses’ create fragrances. The unique new flavours are then assigned to specific ingredients or dishes, such as tomatoes, fish or desserts. Each creation has its own unique story.
These spice powders allow you to season your everyday dishes differently giving them even more flavour.
A selection of ethically-sourced spices
We strive to source the majority of our spices from organic farming; they are not ionized in order to preserve all their active constituents.
Olivier Roellinger and his team go out into the field to meet the women and men who grow and harvest the most exquisite spices. Thanks to them, he brings back the enchanted notes that allow us to compose this melody of spices, so that everyone can discover and become involved in the wonderful world of spices. In this way, we work with small producers on a long-term basis.
The spices we use and sell come from the most recent crop to arrive in Cancale, guaranteeing their quality and freshness. Our main farmers and producers live in India, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Cambodia, Vietnam and Europe. Whenever feasible, we ship our spices using sea freight.
An artisanal transformation in the Maison du voyageur
Raw spices from all over the world arrive in Cancale. In the Maison du Voyageur’s lab kitchen, a passionate crew prepares, roasts, oven-dries, grinds and then packages the spice blends.
We take special care to ensure that the spice blends are freshly ground. Our spice and condiment powders are prepared regularly throughout the year.
Spices for the future of cuisine
In French cuisine, recipes often consist of three parts: ingredients, cooking instructions and seasoning. The first two sections are long and detailed, whereas the section on seasoning boils down to two small words: salt and pepper.
Nature has provided us with spices: an abundance of flavours and aromas that can transform everyday dishes and make your taste buds sing and dance. Spices conjure up fragrances and images of travel and adventure, as well as the mysteries of the sun, life and all living things.
In the context of a dietary transition towards more plant-based foods, spices can be used to add texture and variety to all sorts of vegetables, fruits and legumes.
We use plants to season plants: all sorts of seeds, flowers, buds, bark, roots and rhizomes can be used. In addition to the health benefits of their active components, spices can help us reduce our use of fat, salt and sugar thanks to the intensity of their flavours and aromas.
Spices will play a key role in the future of cuisine, a tradition that is set to be more open to the outside world: delicious, jubilant, healthy French cuisine flavoured with spices. Go ahead and do some gardening, do some cooking and set the seasonings and flavours free! Be bold!