Hello everyone from the other side of the world! First of all let me say I hope you had an amazing Christmas! I certainly did, but then I was relaxing by the pool in 35 degree sunshine! After the madness that has been 2016 it’s been so nice just to relax with family and friends, enjoy the wonderful weather and let the Spice Universe look after itself for a while.

The weather here in Melbourne has been hot even by Australian summer standards, but at the same time in other parts of the country it has been even madder. I watched waterfalls coursing down the side of Uluru on TV the other day, this in a part of the country (the Outback) where it rarely rains, certainly not at this time of year.

This got me thinking about how climate change is affecting my world, the world of spice. 2016 has been notable for the number of staple spices which have been either completely unavailable, or sporadically so, and this scarcity seems to me to be largely down to bizarre weather caused by climate change – crops of the world’s best pepper, India’s Wynad, have been wiped out by the weather. Here in Australia the native spices, such as Mountain Pepper, can be harder to find. A more common spice which has been similarly affected is Szechuan Pepper, which hits Spice Mountain hard. You may have noticed that we have not stocked Shichimi Togarishi recently, one of our favourite and most popular blends – this is because it features Szechuan pepper, and I just can’t get any! I could go on; curry leaves are difficult to source, and so is dried lemon peel, which again features in many popular blends. Away from spice coffee, for example, is another commodity on which the weather has a massive impact. I’ve never been one to preach, but one of my main hopes for 2017 is that we all start to think more about how we can all do our bit to reduce the gravity of climate change – this affects everybody.

It hasn’t been just the weather that’s been mad in 2016, however – when I sit and think about how much Spice Mountain has grown compared to twelve months ago.. phew! When we moved into our new shop in Borough Market in April I was, to be honest, a little intimidated by how big it seemed. Come December, and it just doesn’t seem big enough sometimes! That’s all thanks to you, our lovely customers, and I’m so happy the shop has been such a big hit. Our website also had a revamp in the Autumn, and I hope you now find it bigger, brighter and easier to use. Don’t forget our recipe section, packed with dozens of ideas on how to use your spices.

And what does 2017 hold? Now the madness of the pre-holiday period is over, I’ll hopefully have more time to spend rummaging in my box of magic tricks, to come up with new and exciting blends for you to try. Trust me, there are many more secrets to be discovered on Spice Mountain!

Well it’s been lovely talking, but wait… yes, that’s definitely the beach calling! Time to go and top up the tan! Here’s hoping for a peaceful, prosperous and spicy 2017.

Happy New Year!

Magali