Turkish Delights

Bold flavors from a new local spice company

Conscientious cooks can rattle off the merits of buying grass-fed local beef, the flavor benefits of free-range poultry or the subtleties of a single-varietal olive oil.

Those same passions and philosophies should extend to the spice cabinet, says Spices of Lezzet president Nils Bunde.

Rather than buy from bazaars and the open market, the new Chicago-based company seeks out farmers and trusted brokers who buy directly from farms, many in Turkey, selecting each spice for its purity. At Spices of Lezzet, familiar herbs and spices are pungent and pure. And the more unusual offerings can serve as inspiration for adventures in seasoning.

Roasted black cumin ($7.25 for 2.4 ounces) has a subtler character than its tan sibling, and is excellent lightly crushed in salad dressings and stirred into braises and soups. Oily and smoky, hot red stamp pepper ($6.25 for 1.5 ounces) is sourced from a single farm near Aleppo, Syria, and tastes like standard chile flakes on steroids (Lezzet's founders love it on pizza).

Try isot pepper ($7.50 for 1.6 ounces), a dark, lightly sweet pepper with a subtle burn, sprinkled on eggs, pasta and grilled meats.

Lezzet has been providing to restaurants since its inception, and just began offering the smaller, home-friendly containers on its website–which means revolutionizing dinner has become that much easier.