Shopping in an oriental grocery store is an instant voyage! The scent of spices tickles your nose, the multitude of colors is ready to fill you with wonder, and the jars are just waiting to be discovered.
In this cavern of a thousand treasures, where you’ll want to buy everything, here are 5 sun-dried products you must have.
1 – Levantine halva
This sesame cream-based pastry composition (tahini) can be enjoyed at breakfast with a cup of coffee, or as a dessert. It comes from the countries of the Levant and appeals for its dense yet crumbly texture. Depending on what your grocery store offers, halva is available plain or with dried fruit: pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, etc. A real delight!
2 – Moroccan preserved lemons
How about adding a touch of sunshine to your dishes? Ask your grocer for a jar of preserved lemons, and that’s it! You can use them in a chicken tagine, as a decorative touch in a salad or to spice up grilled vegetables. Psssst, we hear that these pretty citrus fruits can also be used to flavor cakes, pastries and brioches. Yummy!
3 – The Maghreb ras el hanout spice blend
Can’t do without spices? Not lucky! Don’t leave without a bag of ras el hanout. But what exactly is ras el hanout? A blend of spices and herbs from North Africa, containing up to 30 different ingredients: cumin, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, coriander and more. An explosion of flavors for all your dishes! Marinades, tagines, couscous or rice-based dishes, anything goes.
4 – Algerian soda Selecto
Looking for an alternative to the famous American drink? Try Selecto! A favorite of Algerians, Selecto is distinguished by its apple extracts and caramelized notes. Created in 1907 by Youcef Boualem in Algiers, Selecto first appeared on the market under the name Victoria. In France, it became part of pop culture, featuring in the famous song Tonton du bled by rap group 113.
5 – Saudi date paste
An excellent alternative to white sugar, Saudi date paste – if it’s of good quality – is made from 100% natural dates. It can be used to sweeten pastries or eaten by the spoonful, as a healthy, energizing and delicious snack. You can also add it to yoghurt or compote. It’s divine!