Harissa disaster

March 2009

Ever since a couple of visits to Tunisia in the 90s, I’ve been addicted to the local chilli paste called harissa. So the excitement of finding a really good one imported by Roger Sheen’s Maison de Tunisie and labelled Harissa Berbère was palpable: it’s the real thing, as if it was scooped from an Ali Baba jar in the market on the island of Djerba. Then, suddenly, it stopped. I rang distributor Emil Gomez of Nomad Feasts in Killarney Heights (Ph 9453 2203) and he told me the sad tale. It appears the Tunisian government took exception, after many years, of his using the Tunisian flag on his label. Imports have stopped until he changes the label. I’d make my own except there’s an elusive taste (and not just the carraway seeds) that makes it difficult to replicate. Damn.

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