Spice Library Encourages Taste Adventures

July/August 2017

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Spice Library Encourages Taste Adventures

Galangal and advieh. Hmm—two exotic destinations? Sort of. These are words that signal you’re going to be transported—to a taste sensation.

They’re spices, and they were part of a “spice library” that chef Erica Holland-Toll set up in the Arrillaga Family Dining Commons in April. The hope was that students would “smell, taste and take” a little bit of the more than 100 spices and herbs, and Holland-Toll was gratified to see how the idea clicked. “A good quarter of the jars were emptied and needed to be refilled,” she notes. 


Galangal, known for its use in a variety of Southeast Asian dishes, is derived from the root of a plant and is sometimes characterized as similar to ginger, but also hotter and sharper. Holland-Toll describes advieh as a Persian spice blend of rose petals, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin and allspice.

Holland-Toll’s inspiration came from residential dining’s Harvest of the Month program, which was dedicated to spices and herbs in April. In May, the educational focus shifted to a trio of ingredients: seaweed, flowers and berries.

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