Back in the States, I had a cupboard in my kitchen filled with dried spices for cooking. I never grew any fresh herbs because I had always lived in apartments or condos in the city without access to a backyard or patio. When I first arrived in Mauritius, I went to the market to re-stock my spice cupboard by purchasing the same type of spices.
But then, my housekeeper clued me into the fact that it’s better to buy bags of freshly ground spices and then store them to use for cooking. She showed me the large section of the supermarket (how did I miss this before?) that had all the spices.
Now, I have fresh cinnamon and bourbon vanilla beans from Madagascar, saffron from India and freshly mixed masala that I can identify by the color and scent. When people visit these islands, this is the stuff that they should take home in their suitcases. It’s incredibly inexpensive compared to what you would pay for it in the States and it’s wonderfully fresh.
And there were lots of herbs in the backyard when we moved in, but I have planted a few more just because I have always wanted to tend to my own herb garden.