Throwing dip into the seasoning mix


Just recently I was discussing halibut with my father-in-law who was commenting on having been served fresh halibut that was ruined by over saucing. With such a delicate flavour and texture, most halibut recipes call for a gentle touch, or are enhanced with a garnish of some kind of fruit-based salsa, depending on the season. Of course there’s also fish ‘n chips where halibut fills in as the premium choice over cod. At least here in BC.

But this post is really only partially about halibut. Recently Foodists received some products from a company in Victoria called Epicure Selections. According to their website the company was founded by Sylvie Rochette to address a genuine need for easy, healthful and delicious mealtime solutions. With an initial offering of four hand-crafted spice blends sold from her station wagon at local markets and consumer trade shows, the products’ overwhelming popularity soon prompted the creation of Epicure Selections®.

Included in the selection sent to us was the Lemon Dilly Dip, Pueblo Bean Dip Mix, Guacamole Dip Mix, Barbecue Seasoning, Vegetable Seasoning and the Classic Vinegarette. Admittedly, they all sat around for a while since I rarely use pre-mixed anything and generally make my own meat rubs. Also, these products are not available in retail stores. You buy them online. I find the packaging design very generic and not compelling so this probably also contributed to a certain lack of motivation to use them.

First up was the Barbecue Seasoning. I opened the jar and smelled it, nothing blew me away. A taste suggested that it was a bit generic, but I gave it a whirl on a nice thick rib eye steak (how’s that for committing to a trial!). I found it to be good, though somewhat lacking in salt. Maybe that’s not a bad thing since it’ll allow you to control the salt on your meat, but I’d been using rubs with salt and then found I needed to add seasoning after grilling (steak). I think I’ll stick to my own or more specialized rubs for steak, though I think it would be a good secret ingredient on roasted potatoes.

As the father of a one year old, coming home after work and cooking isn’t quite what it used to be back when we were childless. In fact, we’re now also trying to eat together as a family. Not always possible, but quick meal preparations are somewhat key to pulling this off. No more mid-week whole-roasted birds. So it was we found ourselves staring at a couple of fresh halibut fillets the other night. Salt, pepper, lemon and….yes, I caved and thought I’d try using the Lemon Dilly Dip seasoning on the fish. Well, I have to say that we were suitably impressed with this one. It is fresh and tight tasting and took the meal up a notch. With no fuss and in no time flat. It’s my new favourite seasoning on halibut. See the photo on this post for a shot of it (with, I might add a salad of my wife’s own organic radishes and Asian greens).

Okay, so the Lemon Dilly Dip won me over on fish, but I’d not tried it as a dip. I’m also somewhat of a purest when it comes to guacamole so found it slightly amusing that the Guacamole Dip Mix instructions basically have you making guacamole and then adding in the seasoning–not much time saving there, but who knows, maybe it’s amazing. Haven’t gone there yet. With company coming for a meeting at my place I needed a dip for crudites so used the Lemon Dilly Mix for its intended purpose. Again, it had the nice, fresh taste I’d experienced when used on the fish. The dip was a nice change from the standard ranch dressing. It’s good on potato chips too, if you’re into that kind of guilty pleasure.

I tried the Vegetable Seasoning on boiled and buttered new potatoes but really disliked it. I found it gave the fresh potatoes a kind of processed flavour that was not appealing to me. Keep in mind that these dip mixes and seasonings are all made using fresh herbs and ingredients so I’m not sure what accounts for that effect. Latent taste memories perhaps?

The Epicure Selections website has all sorts of recipes available on it, so maybe if you’ve got your shelves stocked with their stuff you can build your meals starting with the mixes? I dunno, that’s not really my style, and certainly some of these can be time savers so a selection could be worth having handy. Are they better than what I can buy elsewhere or make myself? Not really. Would I go out of my way to order them online? Hmmmm, not sure. So far maybe just when the Lemon Dip runs out since it’s so great on fish. We’ll see. If the company has managed to scale up their production without compromising their market fresh roots, then I’m all for it. The designer in me really wants to see new a new logo and packaging more likely to inspire me to want to stock these in my pantry, and use them from time to time.

I’m still staring at the Pueblo Bean Dip, Vinegarette, and Guacamole and will eventually get around to trying these–I’ll have to get Foodist contributor Kevin’s wife’s recipe for guac and do a side-by-side!

Have you had any experiences with these products, specific uses, etc? We want to know.


30 Responses to “Throwing dip into the seasoning mix”

  1. Posted on June 10th, 2009


    I can’t believe the Foodist’s found Epicure!

    I personally am a HUGE fan of Epicure. Of course you won’t go absolutely crazy for ALL of their stuff, but for the most part, it’s very delicious and health conscious. It’s the little things that Epicure offers that make my cooking easier – like their 3 Onion dip mix, Minced Garlic, and others. I love supporting a 100% Canadian company, and have a lot of faith in the quality of everything they sell.

    I recently got their new Mustards and BBQ Sauces and am quite impressed. I like the fact that they are low in sodium – you can always add more after the fact.

    Good write up Ben. I know what it’s like to have kids thrown in the mix. Long gone are the days of cooking until 10pm! Honestly I haven’t been able to find a suitable alternative to Epicure, and have been cooking with them for over five years. Trust me they will grow on you. Ask them to send you their new products! Great to see you guys covering them!

  2. Posted on June 10th, 2009

    I have been enjoying Epicure Selections for years now. If you are a beginner in the kitchen they are a great way to spice up the average and making it so much more gourmet. The blend of seasonings are great in the way that they are pre-mixed and you only need that one step seasoning. My favorite thing about the Epicure products is their ingredients. They are REAL!!!! when you open up a seasoning you can see the onion, garlic, etc. And reading the label! there are no crazy additives that have names you can barely pronounce. Kudos to Epicure for making real food for a real world!

  3. Posted on June 10th, 2009

    I too have been cooking with Epicure for a number of years and COULD NOT be without it in my pantry. Their unique blends are fantastic and full of flavor!

    If you are someone who is concerned with sodium intake, you will not find better products on the marketplace, especially the boullions, the Sansels, and the French Onion Dip Mix (use in place of Lipton Onion Soup mix).

    You neglected to mention that you may also purchase Epicure through Independent Consultants, in addition to using the online store. Independent Consultants offer Tasting Parties where you are able to taste dips and recipes using Epicure products in addition to earning free products as the hostess. This is a great way to introduce your friends and family to Epicure.

    Excellent review!

    Kim Magnusson
    Independent Consultant, Epicure Selections

  4. Posted on June 10th, 2009

    Good write-up. To me, salt was a gift from the Gods, until my BP went through the roof. Finding Epicure allowed me back into cooking and their variety of low sodium products meant I could create again. In the winter the kitchen is mine and in the summer the BBQ is mine; it doesn’t get any better.

    As for fish; try equal amounts of high quality mayonnaise and Epicure’s new Sweet and Spicy mustard; generously spread over some salmon filets. Place on the grill with medium low heat.

    You will love this.

  5. Posted on June 10th, 2009

    Wow you have found my gift to gourmet cooking on a budget. I am Spice Geek when it comes to Epicure Selections. I have my favorites that have to be used all the time! My family can’t go without the potato toppers and recently had to confiscate them from my husband taking them to work with him. I love that the Company is Canadian owned and opperated and values family and friends having the best quality product for an amazing price.

  6. Posted on June 10th, 2009

    You HAVE to try the Guacamole and post what you think. It is by far the best I have ever tasted.

    I absolutely LOVE Epicure products and nobody in my family can imagine me cooking without them. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, I am using Epicure products. Low sodium, most are gluten-free which is important since I am Celiac, just healthful, wonderful spice blends.

    Try everything they sent, I bet you’ll be sold!!

  7. Posted on June 10th, 2009

    “Are they better that what I can buy elsewhere or make myself, not really.”

    Unfortunately Ben, I have to disagree with you big time on this comment.

    Epicure Selections products are not only low in sodium, but low in sugar, excellent for people suffering from celiac’s, helpful for people with diabetes, have NO ADDED MSG, no additives, preservatives, anti-caking agents, fillers or dyes – store bought brands CANNOT boast this. Nothing but wholesome goodness from these amazing products that can turn your everyday cooking blah’s into Gourmet Hurrah’s. To top things off – you’ll find with Epicure Selections products that you’ll use less than you’d use of store-brand products simply because of Epicure Selections purity and flavour quality.

    I would encourage you to experiment with Epicure Selections products – talk to a local Independent Consultant or even contact Head Office for ideas, suggestions, recipes etc. If you already enjoy being in the kitchen, cooking and experimenting with your food – Epicure Selections products make it that much more fun and enjoyable as well as healthy.

    Take a chance – step out of your comfort zone – you’ll be happy & healthier for it.


    Tammy Smith, Sr. Consultant – Epicure Selections
    Calgary, AB

  8. Posted on June 10th, 2009

    I have sold Epicure for 6 years and used it for 3 years before that. I love it. I enjoy selling it and I love to cook with it.
    Just to add to the on going conversations about the “stuff” missing from our food. I am diabetic so knowing what I am eating is a must. Most store purchased spices have sugar in them. Why should I season my veggies with sugar?? And the lack of sodium is a plus. I started using Epicure once I had children because why would I go to the trouble of preparing homemade food with as much additives as fast food. My 10 year old recently went to a sleepover where they were served tacos. She could not eat them, they burnt her tongue, when I asked the birthday girls’ Mom what did she use, it was a store purchased package of taco seasoning. My daughter has never had that. I pointed out that it was the salt. My daughter has never had that much salt in a meal. Plus that package has transfat and MSG in it. It goes to show that you can make a nutritious, delicious cost effective meals in your home and you will feel better knowing you are making wonderful health conscious meals for you and your family.

    PS try the guacamole, you will be in awe!!

    Stephanie Cartwright
    Independent Epicure Consultant, Fort St. John, B.C.

  9. Posted on June 10th, 2009

    I have been selling Epicure for 2years and It has brought my family finical freedom!! I love the products and I’m proud to say that we are a company who believe’s in bring the best product to Canadian family’s! If your watching your salt intake or your waist line we have stuff for you! You should try my recipe for salmon! It uses the Chili Lime Sansel (a salt replacement) and Canadian Maple Syrup. All you do is sprinkle as much as you want of the Chili Lime on your Salmon and the cover it will the Maple Syrup and Refrigerate for a couple of hours and the BBQ until done! It’s YUMMY my 3year old loves it!

    Melissa Norman
    Independent Epicure Consultant, Kanata ON

  10. Posted on June 10th, 2009


    You have to try the guacamole….the best that I have ever had. When you use the spices, it is best to let them infuse with the food before eating to get the best taste!

    The Products at Epicure Selections is a nice healthy alternative to what you can find in your regular supermarket!

    I have used the product for about 9 years and have been selling it for about 8 months!

    Love it!

    Jacquie Rougeau
    Senior Consultant
    Epicure Selections

  11. Posted on June 10th, 2009

    Low salt is a good thing. If it’s not salty enough – add salt. Most products don’t give you that choice.
    Epicure also has no msg or preservatives. I find the products great. I like using the dip mixes for more than just dip – the herb & garlic for example is wonderful on cubed roasted potatoes.

    I should mention that Epicure also has fabulous cookware !! Just a good company with great products. I’d encourage people to find a local rep or order online.

  12. Posted on June 10th, 2009

    Well I find myself disagreeing with a few of your comments. Epicure is providing me with an awesome, healthy alternative to supermarket spices! The lack of salt you mention is a definite PLUS especially in this day and age where people are eating more packaged and prepared foods high in sodium. I work in Food Services within the Healthcare Industry so I know first hand how too much sodium is putting more and more people in cardiac units. Scary thing is, most don’t even realize how much sodium and sugar they intake daily.
    Keep in mind…most home cooks are not “chefs” and would not take the time to make their own rubs etc. Epicure products are made with these people in mind! Like the company says, it helps people discover “the cook they are just by opening a jar”
    Epicure will continue to grace my dinner table for years to come! The products are the highest quality and are second to none!!

  13. Posted on June 10th, 2009

    I have used Epicure Selection’s products for years and love nearly every one I have used. I became a consultant originally to be able to stock my pantry at a reasonable price and found myself passionate about sharing the recipes, spices, flavours of Epicure. When you can buy a low cost cut of beef roast, season it with Oven Roast which is also very reasonably priced, rub on some fresh garlic and pepper and braise it then add a cup of low sodium boullion with a cup of white wine and cook in a slow cooker or 300 degree oven for five to six hours and have the diners rave about not only the tender delicious meat but the fabulous gravy as well – that is just one tiny example! Low sodium is the answer to most of the over 50s health concerns! Low sugar is the answer to most of the remainder of them!! Added MSG in other spices and seasonings which is not even listed on their packaging is causing all sorts of medical problems and people need to know what they are adding to their food – with Epicure they do!! The large supermarket sold brands such as Clubhouse – you have to look up on their website to find out the amounts of additives and ingredients in many of their mixes and spices. Check your labels and see what you are feeding your children!!!

  14. Posted on June 10th, 2009

    I was quite disapointed when i read this article… I personaly use Epicure in all my cooking… Adding Dip Mixes to scrabled eggs or throwing it in plain Cream cheese for unique spreads… I rarley ever use any of my product as its inted to be used… Take a chance try it all… Sure there are products I dont love but nobody loves everything… As a single mother i love having Epicure for added Income(it truely sells its self)and I wouldnt dare feed my child another store bought seasoning or dip with all the added junk they throw in… Epicure products are a great healthy choice….With Epicure what goes into the product is exactly what they put on the lable.

    Dannielle Port
    Epicure Selections

  15. Posted on June 10th, 2009

    Where do I sign up to be an Epicure Consultant? With so mainly breathless supporters, it must have an excellent pyramid scheme!

  16. Posted on June 10th, 2009

    It seems to me that many of these Epicureans have missed the point. I’m no chef, either. I don’t buy “large supermarket sold brands” either. I just cook my meals. And if, as Ben says, a product isn’t any better than what I can do on my own (without, I repeat, without premixed products), then I won’t use it.

    Unlike Danielle, I was not disappointed with this article because it tried to give an objective assessment of the product. That gives me incentive to try something. Conversely, the flood of biased responses to this article have pretty much guaranteed that I won’t be trying this particular product.

  17. Posted on June 11th, 2009

    I disagree that the article was objective….it definitely had a negative tone and half of the products weren’t even tried. You can’t blame Epicure consultants for giving more information about the products.

    I can see how people who already have their own rub recipes would not see the benefits but for me personally, the products have made my life much easier. I was uncomfortable in the kitchen and preferred to eat or order out but I was then blessed with a son who has several allergies and was forced to have to cook everything from scratch. Cooking with Epicure products has changed the way my family eats….no more plain/tasteless meals in my house!!

    You should try the pueblo bean dip, it’s one of my favorites. Mixing it up with some sour cream and mayo makes a great dip for taco chips. It’s also great in a mexican layer dip or to add a kick to chili

    I love the packaging! The cute hexagonal jars are much nicer than anything you would find in the grocery store. I reuse the jars to put in bathsalts to give as gifts or to put in tealights when we’re sitting outside on the patio

    Boris – here’s the definition of a pyramid scheme “A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves the exchange of money primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, without any product or service being delivered”. Epicure most definitely is NOT a pyramid scheme – it has amazing products and consultants are paid by how hard they work and the amount they sell just like any other legitimate business

  18. Posted on June 11th, 2009

    My thoughts on this article, is great, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. However, keep in mind that not everyone shares the same favorites. Just because the vegetable seasoning or the bbq seasoning was not enjoyed by this “foodist”, it does not mean that it may be YOUR new favorite.
    I love many of the Epicure products. I use them everyday in my cooking. My family and friends use them in their cooking every day. I could not imagine my kitchen bare of Epicure products. I have two cupboards dedicated to Epicure spices, dip mixes, salsas. This is the affordable way to eat healthy, tasty meals in todays busy world.
    After having children, and a husband with a history of heart attacks in his family. I realized we need to start taking better care of ourselves so that we can be here to see our family grow.
    I love Epicure products, I thank Sylvie Rochette each and every day, for sharing her dream with all Canadians. For many of us, it has not only spiced up our meals, but it has helped us financially find freedom.
    There would be no other product I would be this excited about to represent.
    Epicure ROCKS!!!

  19. Posted on June 11th, 2009

    Michelle, I said the article TRIED to be objective. That means the reviewer went into this with an open mind and honestly reported his reactions to the various products. That’s what being objective means.

    What gets my hackles up with the responses of the various consultants is that almost all of them sound like excerpts from infomercials. They make the same points in different ways, they refuse to accept that someone might not agree, and they make a number of assumptions that, in this case, are not valid.

    This blog is about the love of food. It’s not about making life easier with premixed ingredients. It’s not about making extra money on the side. It’s not about being better than store-bought brands or the stores themselves. If a product like Epicure Selections can enhance the enjoyment of food, it has a place here. The rest is irrelevant. (This, of course, is just my understanding of the purpose of this blog. I am not a member of Foodists.)

  20. Posted on June 11th, 2009

    my favorite is the salsa spice….too bad they didn’t send you any of that! I just add some of the spice to a can of diced tomatoes and I have a homemade tasting salsa (my friends don’t have to know it only took 30 seconds instead of an hour to make :)). My husband and I look forward to Friday nacho night…woohoo, that’s tomorrow night!! I used to think that I didn’t like guacamole(i think maybe it was the color and texture that made me not want to eat it). I was brave one day and tried the Epicure one, it’s delicious. Warning, it’s addictive! The only problem is trying to find avacados that are ripe when going to the store (i tried making it once with hard unripe avacados, not very enjoyable)

  21. Posted on June 11th, 2009

    I have never commented on Foodists before, but after reading Ben’s write up, and seeing the lively debate that has occurred here, I thought it would be appropriate for me to chime in.

    Jo Wu: Epicure does indeed have a place at Foodists. It enhances my enjoyment of food to a level I haven’t experienced before, short of going on vacation and eating at nice restaurants along the way.

    Boris Mann: Shame on you. Epicure Selections is a great company that makes delicious products! I have known many fine people that have sold Epicure and I am happy to support them for the good work they do. Plus, why would I buy spices from a grocery store when I have no idea what they taste like. With Epicure, and with Home Tasting Parties, I can try all of the wonderful offerings, and make an informed decision.

    Ben: Great write up. You will soon see how Epicure can change the way you cook. Like you, I was puzzled initially on how to use the stuff, but that soon changed. A friend of mine sent me a few recipes, and I was away to the races! Ultimately, I wanted great tasting food, without the nasty preservatives and MSG that are so laden in today’s corporate food machine. I have three kids, and I want to provide the most healthy, delicious food I can.

    Great comments everyone, it is so wonderful to see such a lively debate going on.

    Ultimately, everyone that has tried Epicure loves them. I think that says a lot more about the quality of the product, the respect for the good work the company is doing, and the health benefits that are associated with using them!

    Thanks Foodists!

    Epicure is the best!

  22. Posted on June 11th, 2009

    Two things, Patricia:

    1. My name is not “Jo”.

    2. Your infomercial roots are showing.

  23. Posted on November 27th, 2010

    Hi there I loved your article. I believe that it is vital when discussing diabetes to at least point out natural remedies that have been shown to be effective in managing high blood sugar. Several natural herbs can be including in a diabetics routine that can help maintain a wholesome sugar level.

  24. Posted on May 28th, 2011

    Greetings! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!

  25. Posted on June 21st, 2011

    due to this. that glycemic index chart was developed to help you people amount

  26. Posted on January 13th, 2012

    I can’t thank you enough for the posts on your site. I know you add a lot of time and effort into all of them and truly hope you know how much I enjoy it. I hope I am able to do something identical for someone else sometime.

  27. Posted on March 23rd, 2012

    I like that there’s low sodium, I too found that I was used to the store brands that had way too much sodium & things in their broths etc. & I found I wanted to add it in my Epicure ones, but you can season with garlic and lime or lemon, things like that instead of salt to add flavour you feel you’re lacking from the salt being missing…

    I use the dip mixes to season, it’s not really a dip mix its a spice blend to make dips out of but are versatile for cooking. Try the Bruschetta mix on chicken when booking, or the vinegrette for pasta etc…it’s delicious! I really like Epicure :)

  28. Posted on June 5th, 2012

    I wonder if Epicure fans realize the cost of these products.

    I have been recently introduced to their product lines and find them extremely expensive.

    See this – 1 kg of this costs $100:

    Others are similarly super expansive. Has anybody looked at these numbers?

  29. Posted on December 6th, 2012

    it depends on what you use and how you use it. We’re talking about products that are generally good for you…low sodium, low fat, no fillers or crap in them. They’re the ultimate dream for many people who simply want to eat healthy. So your product needs salt…use some sea salt or do what many of us do…get accustomed to a low sodium diet. The broths can get you I think about 50ish cups of broth for 1 jar vs how many of those in the tetra paks???

    By the way, if you want to buy the product, if you go on the epicure website, you can indeed order online OR you can contact a consultant who can buy it for you OR can talk to you about setting up a tasting party. That way, you can taste a variety of products, have your friends/family buy them so that you as a hostess get product for free…such an amazing deal!

  30. Posted on March 13th, 2013

    Bosko: the herbed garlic sea salt is one of my favourite blends. The beauty of the one you highlighted is it comes in a glass reuseable grinder. This is the cost of the refill
    So I think it’d be fair to say its about $50 for 1kg. For that type of mix which isn’t used heavily on food….I think you get what you pay for!

    It seems childlike to decide you are not going to try something because others have shared their own positive experiences with it. If its their business why not! It’s a gamble to try anything, even a restaurant,so if an owner, chef or the staff stepped up to share the good things about it you’d automatically say “I’m not eating there…”
    Joseph Wu it’s ok if you don’t want to try it….but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!! Just a person who enjoys some of the products!

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