Before I begin this post, I just wanted to mention how gorgeous the weather has been lately in Wiesbaden. Today it’s summery with sunny, blue skies and temperatures of up to 31 °C/88 °F. Mr.E and I have had a great weekend, so far, and I was even able to get off work early yesterday. Regardless of how warm it is outside, I was motivated to bake something today. What was the inspiration? Chai, but more specifically the different ingredients that I purchased at a local spice market called Gewürz-Müller.
It is a small shop located on a quaint street that is also home to a clothing boutique, a piano store, a hair salon that I really dislike, a gorgeous flower shop and more. I stumbled upon Gewürz-Müller during my first year in Wiesbaden and I visit, from time to time, even if it’s just to look around and take in the smells. Outside there are packets of exotic rice and spice blends, bundles of aromatic lavender, and French soaps usually displayed. It’s definitely hard to resist entering! There are two sections to this store and upon entering one notices immediately. To the left, so to speak, is the main area where all the cooking ingredients and such things are located. To the right, is where they have their wines and spirits section. I have yet to explore that closely, but that will be done in due time.
This spice shop was on my list of places to go Friday afternoon because I needed some nice cinnamon sticks, green cardamom pods, and 66% Valrhona chocolate.
The aromas in the shop are an intoxicating blend of curry powders, star anise, Sichuan pepper, dried mint, cinnamon, dried chili, chocolate, and so much more. They pack everything by themselves in the back, in little simple plastic bags with a label showing a short item description and their street address. The walls are covered in beautiful, old wooden built-in cupboards which house their various wares. Bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar ranging from affordable to very expensive adorn one side, and the other is packed with different sauces, pasta, old Italian cookie tins, and vanilla beans in protective glass vials. In the middle of the small room is also an island type section, that’s where one can find more interesting things.
In a recent visit, before this last one, I made a wonderful discovery that they carry different types of salts. The best part was that included is one of my most favorite… Maldon sea salt! It’s no longer necessary to order it online! That makes me extremely happy. I have to say that it’s a little overwhelming going there because they carry just about anything one is looking for, in terms of spices and such things, so I try to bring a list. If not, I’d probably end up leaving with everything except for what I needed! This time I was good and managed to escape the lure, probably only because I was short on time.
So, today I made my first experimental batch of chai latte brownies. I not only used the 66% Valrhona Pur Caraibe, but also a bit of my Valrhona cocoa powder stash. They are full of rich chocolate flavor, but I’m not pleased with how faint the chai taste is! When I have played with the recipe a little more and am satisfied, I promise to post the recipe. Mind you, this may take a while because I don’t think I can justify baking a batch of brownies every day. Well, of course I could… but it is almost summertime! I am not in my “hibernating for winter, so it’s OK to store a little more fat” mentality right now. Alright, I lied. The real reason is because I have so many different recipe projects that I’d like to work on as well. There are always people willing to take the burden of having too many brownies off my hands, right? ;)