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Becca Pereira, who is behind the popular Toronto food brand Spice Girl Eats, has created her very own chai concentrate.
Chai, known as one of South Asia's most popular drinks, can now be easily made at your disposal with this new concentrate. Pereira's chai is slowly steeped using Indian Assam Tea with spice blends of cardamom, cinnamon, clove, peppercorn and fresh ginger. Spice Girl Eats started last year as an Indian home-cooking pop-up, which has now branched out into more than Pereira could have imagined.
Pereira had plans to go to culinary school and was working part time at a salon. When the pandemic started, she was laid off with a lot of time on her hands, so she began cooking everyday. What she noticed was there was a lack of true Indian home-cooking, specifically Goan cuisine. She had a gut feeling to make a move, so she rented out a commercial kitchen and launched in October 2020. It was a very successful year for Spice Girl Eats according to Pereira, and she shared that she got to work with her family every week and has served over 1,000 customers. Periera's business model was takeout-only, and with restaurants and bars opening up again, she knew she had to pivot to something that was more sustainable.
"With people spending more time at home than ever before I thought, we introduced a lot of people to Indian home-cooking, wouldn't it be amazing if you could bring those same flavours home?” she said, prompting her to begin producing the concentrate.
A chai concentrate is when the chai masala and ginger is simmered for hours until reduced by half, enhancing its flavours into a densely-packed concoction that is ready to dilute with milk.
During their pick-ups, it was Pereira's mom’s idea to give out chai with every order––which customers loved and inspired Pereira to work on bringing it the life. She then started experimenting with her own spice blend, which is adapted from an old family recipe and includes cardamom, cinnamon, clove, peppercorn and lots of fresh ginger. Then she steeps Indian Assam Tea and sweetens it with unrefined cane sugar.
"It can then be easily mixed with any type of milk or even water, plus it can also be enjoyed hot or cold! It’s easy, mess-free and you can have a proper cup of chai within minutes. It's really a cool product," says Pereira.
Earlier this year, the regarded ice cream shop Ruru Baked and Spice Girl Eats partnered up on a chai ice-cream while Pereira was working on the spice blend. After weeks of testing, she finally got an ice cream batch that was spicy, sweet and creamy––a Ruru Baked standard. Now, Pereira rents out their store front on Mondays and offers free chai pickups.
Spice Girl Eats hints that fans can expect more products, as well as finding their chai concentrate at a handful of local cafes and boutique retailers in Toronto. Every Saturday is their restock date, and you are able to order for free pickups on Mondays at 659 Lansdowne Avenue or $5 local delivery throughout the week. They will also be offering Canada wide shipping come November.