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Spice, also known as deg in Dwarvish,[1] was a broad term for a variety of seeds, roots, and bark that were primarily used for seasoning or flavoring food.[citation needed] They were often dried, ground up into a powder, and mixed together with a variety of other spices. Over time the advancement of long distance trade caused spices that were once exclusive to a single region to be spread far and wide across Toril.[2]

Travelers on Toril typically kept spices in little glass vials, encased in whittled wooden 'shielding shells' to guard against breakage. These were carried inside of drawstring leather pouches, known as spice pouches. Such pouches had the "finished" side as their interior, thus minimizing reactions with the vials' contents.[3]

Varieties[]

Spices used throughout Toril included the following:

History[]

In 920 DR, the merchant Windyn Balindre returns to Faerûn from Kara-tur with some of that land's unique spices in tow.[14]

In 1238 DR, a major trade war began between the Amnian merchant families House Ulvax and House Ophal. This was due to the latter causing House Ulvax's spice trade with Zakhara to dwindle. The feud between them would persist for over a hundred years, igniting numerous other trade wars. Eventually, it would culminate in the Murann Spice War in 1338 DR. The Council of Six would go on to punish House Ulvax for instigating the conflict by revoking their right to engage in the Zakharan spice trade.[15]

At some point prior to 1352 DR, General Hie Aie Shek cleared out bandits that were scouring the Spice Road.[16]

From 1356 DR [17] to 1374 DR the Highmoon Trading Coster was known to trade the spices arispeg, marka, and delph.[5]

Around 1359 DR, the following spices were known to be carried by caravans along the Spice Road: Camphor, Caramon, Ginseng, Myrrh, Nutmeg, and Saffron.[18]

Around 1367 DR, a trio of traveling merchants that hailed from Anauroch were trading a variety of spices in Shadowdale in return for silver. Some of their spices included curry, pepper, and rock salt.[19]

For many decades the four rival trading families of Marsember shipped spices to and from lands all across the Inner Sea. Over time they became the city's main export and earned it the moniker "City of Spices."[20] In the years leading up to 1370 DR the city's dominance in the spice trade waned as other kingdoms started getting involved in exporting condiments to the Sword Coast, such as Westgate and Nimpeth.[21]

Around 1370 DR, Mithral Hall's alliances with surface kingdoms allowed for the importation of many spices that were once unknown to denizens of the Underdark.[22] Also during this time, spices were one of the few industries of trade that the nation of Thay had with the lands west of it.[23]

Around 1372 DR, rare spices were known to travel across the Black Road.[24] Around this time an investment of 100 gp worth of western goods could fetch over 500 gp worth of silk and spices from Kara-Tur.[25]

During the Time of Troubles, House Se'Sehen were known to trade rare spices in return for either slaves or a means by which to transport their spies to northern ports.[26]

In the late 15th century, merchants from further south were known to trade spices in the city of Bryn Shander.[27] Around this same time, merchants were known to travel to Port Nyanzaru from as far away as the Sword Coast in order to purchase the unique spices of Chult.[28]

Prices[]

Prices varied between each type of spice, with one of many factors being whether they were local or exotic.[citation needed] However, in the bazaars of Zakhara the native spices could generally be bought for around 7 silver pieces to 2 gold pieces per pound.[29]

In the 14th century DR, markets in Waterdeep sold most spices for around 5 copper pieces to 8 gold pieces per dry 1 oz (28 g), though saffron in particular sold for 40 gold pieces per dry 1 oz (28 g).[30]

Notable Users of Spices[]

General[]

  • Throughout Faerûn meat was typically coated in a mixture of powdered spices, such as sage and rosemary, before being spit-roasted. Calishites were particularly known for heavily spicing their meat.[31]
  • A small number of people carried their own blend of spices when traveling.[3][note 1]

Groups[]

  • Spices were among the raw material trade goods that the Rundeen dealt in.[32]
  • The Shad'iar, the nomadic tribes of the Land of the Lions, often used spices on their simple foods. Whenever a clan, family, or tribe of Shad'iar hosted members of another tribe they would slaughter and cook animals over a great roaring fire. To enhance the flavor of that meat, they would either rubs spices into it or throw them over the bonfire.[33] Spices were also commonly used by them as a barter good.[34]

Races & Intelligent Creatures[]

  • Elves considered cooking a delicate art form and their taste buds generally could not handle heavy use of spices. However, among elves the more adventurous youth were known to partake in over-spiced food.[35]
  • Cloud giants were known to prefer their food carefully prepared with a variety of spices.[36] Furthermore, those who worshiped the deity Stronmaus would ritually start each morning by scattering handfuls of spice and incense into the wind.[37]
  • The ghul-kin of Zakhara were known to have a fondness for highly spiced meat and stews.[38]
  • Gnomish cuisine was rarely known to employ spices.[39]
  • Halflings did not favor a lot of spices in their food, with the exception of onions.[40] They generally preferred a mixture of herbs over strong spices when it came to seasoning their traditional sausages, cheeses, stews, and baked goods.[41]
  • Rakshasa were typically known to season their food with all manner of exotic spices.[42]

Regions & Settlements[]

  • The Calimshan city of Suldolphor sported an entrance known as the Spice Gate. Also within that city, the Shaldizar Inn would throw spices on to fires in order to scent the interior air.[43]
  • In the nation of Tethyr, spices were one of many goods that people commonly bartered with.[44]
  • Most travelers in the Western Heartlands carried varied arrays of the spices that they considered "base staples." These included cinnamon, dill seeds, ground black pepper, ground garlic, nutmeg, or thyme.[3]
  • In the lands further south and east of the Western Heartlands the spices considered "base staples" to travelers were ground almonds, ground ginger, dried tamarind, raisins, rosemary, and turmeric.[3]

Trivia[]

  • Among the many valuable items that made up the treasure hoards of some dragons[45] and rocs,[46] spices could be found.[45][46]
  • Sailors of phlogiston rarely had good access to spices.[47]
  • The dwarven deity Vergadain often demonstrated his favor with individuals through unexpected discoveries, most notably of rare spices.[48]
  • In Zakhara, burning expensive spices could summon a Sakina.[49]

Appendix[]

Notes[]

  1. A modern example given of spice blends was garam masala.

See Also[]

  • Herbs, another broad term for a variety of plant-life that is often used to season food.

External Links[]

References[]

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  2. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (March 2006). Power of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 69. ISBN 0-7869-3910-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Ed Greenwood (07-13-2020). Spices When Traveling (Tweet). theedverse. Twitter. Archived from the original on 6-18-2021. Retrieved on 6-18-2021.
  4. Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), pp. 22, 100. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (March 2006). Power of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 75. ISBN 0-7869-3910-9.
  6. Ed Greenwood (July 1995). Volo's Guide to Cormyr. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 181. ISBN 0-7869-0151-9.
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 Jeff Grubb, Julia Martin, Steven E. Schend et al (1992). Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue. (TSR, Inc), p. 117. ISBN 0-5607-6327-2.
  8. Christopher Perkins, Adam Lee, Richard Whitters (September 1, 2015). Out of the Abyss. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 22. ISBN 978-0-7869-6581-6.
  9. Beamdog (November 2013). Designed by Philip Daigle, et al. Baldur's Gate II: The Black Pits II – Gladiators of Thay. Beamdog.
  10. Tom Prusa (1993). The Shining South. (TSR, Inc), pp. 73, 77. ISBN 1-56076-595-X.
  11. Erin M. Evans (December 2015). Ashes of the Tyrant. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 111. ISBN 978-0786965731.
  12. Jason Carl, Sean K. Reynolds (October 2001). Lords of Darkness. Edited by Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 70. ISBN 07-8691-989-2.
  13. Ed Greenwood (November 1991). Anauroch. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 45. ISBN 1-56076-126-1.
  14. Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
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  18. David Cook (1990). The Horde (Hand-outs). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 978-0880388689.
  19. Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), Shadowdale. (TSR, Inc), pp. 22, 44. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  20. Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  21. Ed Greenwood (July 1995). Volo's Guide to Cormyr. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 37. ISBN 0-7869-0151-9.
  22. Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
  23. Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 179. ISBN 978-0786912377.
  24. Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 15. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  25. Richard Baker, Matt Forbeck, Sean K. Reynolds (May 2003). Unapproachable East. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 177. ISBN 0-7869-2881-6.
  26. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd, Darrin Drader (July 2004). Serpent Kingdoms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 14. ISBN 0-7869-3277-5.
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  28. Christopher Perkins, Will Doyle, Steve Winter (September 19, 2017). Tomb of Annihilation. Edited by Michele Carter, Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 20. ISBN 978-0-7869-6610-3.
  29. Jeff Grubb and Andria Hayday (April 1992). Arabian Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 87. ISBN 978-1560763581.
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  33. Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), pp. 128–129. ISBN 978-0786912377.
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  35. Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), pp. 16, 51. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
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  37. Ray Winninger (September 1995). Giantcraft. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 48. ISBN 0-7869-0163-2.
  38. Nicky Rea (1994). Corsairs of the Great Sea (Monstrous Compendium Pages). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 978-1560768678.
  39. Douglas Niles (1993). The Complete Book of Gnomes & Halflings. (TSR, Inc.), p. 35. ISBN 1-56076-573-9.
  40. Douglas Niles (1993). The Complete Book of Gnomes & Halflings. (TSR, Inc.), p. 82. ISBN 1-56076-573-9.
  41. Ed Greenwood (October 2012). Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster's Forgotten Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 90–91. ISBN 0786960345.
  42. Eric Cagle (December 2004). “The Ecology of the Rakshasa”. In Matthew Sernett ed. Dragon #326 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), pp. 66–70.
  43. Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), pp. 160–161. ISBN 978-0786912377.
  44. Scott Haring (1988). Empires of the Sands. (TSR, Inc), p. 25. ISBN 0-8803-8539-1.
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  48. Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 89. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
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