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We’re Spicing Things Up

We’re Spicing Things Up

Here at Château Gâteaux we’re all about adding a bit of spice to your lives through our delicious cake creations. We love to change things up for our Cake Lovers and invite you to join us this week as we explore all things spice.

Imagine a cake with no sugar – no … just no!  What about an apple dessert without a hint of cloves – we don’t like the sound of that either.  And a ginger biscuit?  Where did the ginger come from?  This week's journey takes us along the spice route (before the mid-15th Century, it was called the Silk Road – mysterious and exotic). Back in the day, spices were the makers of great civilisations such as China, India, Egypt, Persia, Arabia and Rome, and it was spices that ultimately opened up the New World. 

Believe it or not, at one time, nutmeg was worth more in weight than gold – and bizarre as it may seem when Rome was captured in 410 AD by the Visigoths, they demanded a ransom of 3,000 pounds of peppercorns for the return of the city!!!  We all think that the little spice bottles in our kitchen cupboard are innocent – we are learning that this is most definitely not the case! They are a treasure-trove of history.

If you lived in ancient times, you certainly did not have the means to keep your food fresh and hygienic in a fridge (unlike today when our fresh to frozen process can bring you any of our fabulous cakes as fresh as fresh can be, once defrosted).  Thanks to the Silk Road, your ancient self would use various exotic and delicious spices to zhoosh up the flavour of your meals and mask the taste of (dare we say it) not-so-fresh food.

Pepper, turmeric and ginger was collected in Southeast Asia.  We now use the very same ginger in the deliciously crumbly base of our Passionate Lemon Cheesecake and our lip-licking Belgica Caramel Tart.  You will find both included in our 6 Piece Mini Cake Collection and will more than enjoy sharing them with your special family.

Camel caravans trailed the Silk Road from East to West with cloves, nutmeg, arrowroot and cinnamon – would our delicious Swiss Carrot Cake taste the same if we did not have cinnamon to give it that spicy twist? What's more, the Silk Road traders would have supplied your local markets with honey, fruit, sugarcane, gold, silver, silk and a gazillion other items only grown or produced in the East.

Sacks of gorgeously succulent nuts – almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts – deliciousness in small packages, were a Silk Road special from Persia and Asia. Château Gâteaux has perfected the combination of walnuts and marzipan (ground almond paste) in a taste sensation – try our Walnut Truffle, you will be transported to those far off lands with your first bite into its silky smoothness.

Alarmingly, more sinister things also flowed along the Silk Road, like the Black Plague.  Had they closed the Silk Road it may have helped to slow down the Plague's spread – much like we are doing with our lockdowns and Covid today!!  Please keep safe out there, precious friends, stay away from crowds for a while.  We have made it easy for you to still enjoy a special cake moment at home, though, by ordering through our online store and, remember, first time buyers get free delivery! Just a little way in which we are adding some spice to your lives this year!

Let us continue to follow the genie in the spice bottle … this lucrative trade was controlled through the ports of Alexandria and Venice. Exorbitant tariffs were charged, pushing up prices of spices and other goods transported along the Silk Road.  By now, the West was hooked on spices (and another sinister substance – opium!).  There was now an urgent need to find new trade routes to cut out the middle-man in Venice and the hefty taxes imposed by the Ottoman Empire. 

This led to wealthy entrepreneurs funding explorers to find a new route to India and the East, and that is how Vasco da Gama came to discover the Cape of Good Hope in 1497 – firmly putting us all on the map in our beautiful South Africa. This endeavour also led to Christopher Columbus discovering America and opening up a whole new world.

Spice up your day in the best possible way by ordering an exceptional cake moment from #TheCakePeople and open up your world … and tastebuds to the exotic flavours of the Silk Road.

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