Philippe and I made our first baby steps in the direction of commercial ketchup manufacturing about 25 years ago. We were caterers at the time and were making tentative attempts to diversify our commercial food ambitions – with an eye on rejuvenating the tastes and flavours of Quebec d’autrefois. Interest in traditional Quebec recipes and culinary know-how was not as fervent then as it is today and the sporadic eagerness shown by enthusiasts at the time was generally reserved for Holiday dishes. Things have changed – a lot!
At the time we jokingly threatened to call our ready-to-use product – It’s not Heinz – but instead, judiciously settled on Ketchup de tomates à l’ancienne / Old-Fashioned Tomato Ketchup. Our version consisted of roasted tomatoes and onions, as well as a combination of classic spices – a culinary nod if you will to our grandmothers’ ketchup recipes of yesteryear.
We subsequently abandoned our foray into condiment manufacturing when we made it our business – so to speak – to concentrate on sourcing, transforming and distributing exceptional spices from iconic terroirs of the world. That led to the founding of Épices de cru, which allowed us to focus our energies on developing and recreating traditional and custom-made spice blends – one of which incidentally was Ketchup Spice Blend!
Like many good ideas, conception and fruition can take time. L’affaire – as we say in Quebec – est ketchup! In other words, it’s done and all you have to do now is enjoy!
NOTE: Regrettably, Épices de cru does not sell ready-made ketchup, but here are our recipes. 😊
Ethné de Vienne was born in Trinidad, so spices and cooking have always been a part of her life. She worked in fashion for many years before finally building the renowned Montreal catering service with her husband Philippe. Today, as a full-time spice hunter, she takes great care in maintaining Épices de Cru’s relationships in its vast network of suppliers around the globe. She’ll never deny that any dish can be improved by a little cumin or zaatar, and probably a nice glass of rum!