A group of entrepreneurial immigrant women in Victoria, B.C., have been recognized for their spice blend business.
Mosaic Tastes, which was created by nine women taking part in Camosun College's "Markets as Incubators" program, have received the Canadian Western Bank Women Makers and Creators Award for Best Business Implementation this year.
Lucy Marquez, who came to Canada from Colombia, said the group was thrilled to be nominated.
"To win the prize is a whole different story. We're so blessed and happy to be receiving the award," Marquez said.
The group, comprised of women from around the world, first met in January. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, they worked together to develop three separate spice blends: baharat and za'atar from the Middle East and sazón from Latin America.
Marquez says they have been selling their blends at the James Bay Farmers' Market and also via an online store.
"We didn't know this was going to be successful. We were nervous because we are all new to business," she said.
Mi Oh, originally from South Korea, says the blends have been warmly received by customers.
"In Canada, I think that there are a little bit bland flavours," Oh said, with a laugh. "These are authentic flavours."
She recommends sprinkling a little bit of za'atar on a boiled egg with olive oil for a tasty snack.
Marquez, who says using sazón reminds her of being back home in Colombia, says flavour is a great way of exploring the world — especially when we're unable to do so in person due to the pandemic.
"As we say, to taste is to travel so we welcome all of Victoria to try our mixes so they can travel with flavour," said Marquez.