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Les Épices de The Spice Collection

The Spice Collection

By Florence Dupin , Fines Bouches. 11.2020

Roxane Rajabali is a young entrepreneur who started a gastronomic adventure a few months ago: selling Malagasy spices.

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Roxane, originally Indian, Roxane grew up in Madagascar in the region of Tananarive. At the age of 18 she left her native land to join Paris for her studies, then flew to Japan. Repatriated to France following the 2011 tsunami, she settled in Paris for a few years before heading back to Luxembourg. Specialised in marketing and communication, she finds herself unemployed following an economic layoff. She went around in circles, felt the need to move, and then became pregnant. "When I was younger, I didn't like to cook but I liked to eat, my mother used to prepare tasty dishes and meals were convivial moments shared with friends. With the arrival of my baby, I wanted to start cooking so that I could prepare home-made dishes for them. The passion gradually won her over. She quickly spent hours in the kitchen trying out new dishes, new flavors, but "I couldn't find the taste of my childhood dishes".
She then started to learn about the spices she was buying at the time in supermarkets; their composition, their flavors, their uses. This is how The Spice Collection was born. She wanted to find pure spices, 100% natural, grown by carefully selected producers who share her values (eco-friendly, ethical). "I wanted to make a product that I wanted to buy. I wanted to be my first customer," she says.

The Spice Collection

Deeply attached to her country, she met the Malagasy association CTHT (Centre Technique Horticole de Tamatave), run by a Frenchman, which offers local producers the opportunity to preserve their land and be accompanied in their production. Today 70% of its spices come from Madagascar. Working with Malagasy producers also allows her to control the quality "thanks to my family who is on the spot, and in particular my cousin who works in spices". Outside the confines of her home, she goes there twice a year to visit her relatives and producers.

For the rest you will find curry from India and chili from Spain, among others. In Spain, it is her business partner Cristina who keeps a great relationship with their supplier, who shares the same environmental and quality values. Among these spices from elsewhere, some are easy to find, others more complicated. "Apart from the classics, we look for unique spices that are not found everywhere," says Roxane. "It took us a while to find chili flakes, for example. These are chili flakes that are used just before serving, in pasta sauce for example. "Chilli is a flavour enhancer, it's the varieties that give it intensity in the mouth."

With The Spice Collection she is part of an eco-friendly approach: the containers are 100% recycled and recyclable. The Spice Collection also offers craft bags that allow the reuse of original containers. 60gr jars of spices are offered at a higher price than the mass-market one, it is obvious. However, it is enough to compare the composition of the products purchased to understand and be convinced. "Our spices are pure, no need to use a lot to flavour your dish, a little touch is enough."

Anxious to participate in the ecological turn of our world, she participates in the reforestation of the island of Nosy Be (island in the northwest of Madagascar) that she recently visited. Thanks to a partnership established with the SPPM (Société des Produits à Parfums de Madagascar), she is participating in the replanting of Yiang Yiang, a plant used in cosmetics.

During the first months of her new entrepreneurial life, she established her "Atelier" in Luxembourg. She is now based in Italy, in Milan.


Distribution

As for distribution, most of her business is now done online, via her website and that of Meeliora, a company she co-founded with Cristina, her friend and associate. Mainly developed in Luxembourg and Italy, she is now trying to penetrate the French market despite the difficulties of delivery (mainly related to the high costs).

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Her spices, her advise

We often use spices in our daily cooking. This is certainly what makes us admire the cooking of great chefs. "All the steps are important in the kitchen," she says. "Many spices should be used at the beginning of cooking so that they have time to give the food flavor. For a dish with sauce, adding oil (coconut or olive oil, for example) and spices at the same time will allow them to develop their flavors. For marinades, I try, as much as possible, to mix them with my ingredients the day before so that the product soaks in perfectly.

She is particularly fond of peppers and their varieties. She offers 6 of them today, 4 of which we will focus on because the white pepper from Vietnam and the black pepper from Brazil:

Green pepper is her favorite. Roasted, it is a little saltier than the others. When using it, "you can crush it with your fingers or leave it whole, but be careful, it is quite strong in taste. Favour a use at the end of cooking.

More than ever you will like to find, perhaps even rediscover, the taste of real spices.

For the more curious, we have shared with you a recipe that Roxane loves and which is, for her, one of the easiest and most tasty in her repertoire: lentil curry . Inspired by her family's Indian cuisine. A recipe that you will find in our section " recipes ".

Source: Fines Bouches https://www.finesbouches.fr/portraits-de-producteurs/the-spice-collection