Our cloves are grown by our partner farmers on the small island of Pemba, which is famous for its cloves. They’re hand-picked at the last possible moment before flowering, ensuring the largest size and most mature flavor, and then dried in the tropical sun. Hand-sorted for quality and consistency, our cloves always exceed the highest grade given by the Zanzibar government.
They're bright pink when ripe, and they turn brown as they dry. They have a bright, sweet intensity with a rich warmth and a numbing menthol buzz. Add whole to braised meat or mulled wine, or grind into desserts.
Cloves are the dried buds of a large flowering tree, which are grown in the Zanzibar islands in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Tanzania. Zanzibar has some of the oldest clove trees in the world, and Zanzibari cloves have a significantly higher percentage of essential oils (15-18%) than other clove producers. Their essential oil content is so high that they are used locally as a natural substitute for anesthesia. Zanzibar was at one point the largest producer of cloves in the world, but the rise of plantation-style cultivation and exploitative labor practices in other countries have made it difficult for smallholder farmers in Zanzibar to compete despite producing a much higher quality product. Our cloves are grown by a cooperative of smallholder artisan farmers, many of whose families have been growing cloves and other spices (including our cinnamon, black pepper and nutmeg) for generations. Burlap and Barrel is the exclusive importer of Zanzibar cloves into the United States.
Like all of the spices from our partner cooperative in Zanzibar, our Pemba cloves are grown EU-certified organic.
Meet the Farmer: Bwana Mohammad is one of the most successful spice farmers from our partner cooperative in Zanzibar. This photo was taken as he was putting together his own dhow, an ancient style of sailing ship, to transport his clove harvest to the main island himself.