Sasha Woods’ business started in 2014 with her trek along the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain. Sasha said the journey left an impression on her that continues to teach her lessons.
In 2015, a few months after that trip, she said, “I wasn’t feeling well. I had some garlic sautéing, and I reached into my cupboard and grabbed a spice. I felt this little voice inside me say, ‘You need to write this down.’ So it was like a blind grab, and I measured and wrote it down, because you always have to listen to that little voice. Which I learned mostly on the Camino — hence the name [of my business] Camino Spice. The Camino has different routes, but the most popular one is about 500 miles. You follow these little shells and yellow arrows. You’re completely at the mercy of these little arrows and little shells. So I learned to really trust after that.”
Having experienced its healing properties, Sasha began sharing her newly created Divine Inspired Spice. After hearing lots of praise, in 2017, she formed her business. The Livingston Food Resource Center gave her advice about getting the food-business paperwork processed, and in May 2018, she began commercial production of her spice blend at the Resource Center.
Although she moved into her own kitchen in a shop in May 2019, Sasha loves selling at the farmers markets. Her shop is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and Saturday morning so she can be at the Livingston and Bozeman markets.
The Camino Spice shop is really the best place to buy Divine Inspired Spice. Not only do you get to meet Sasha, who tells fascinating stories about her business and the people she’s met, you can also sample everything.
Sasha is enthusiastic about her star product. “This spice is really great on meats and fish and vegetables and fruits and ice cream and in whiskey drinks and apple cider vinegar drinks and on avocado toast and everything. I use it in all my baking, I use it in everything.”
Her daughter is sensitive to nightshade spices, so Sasha created a Not So Spicy version of the original, with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and turmeric, and omitting the cayenne, cumin, and curry.
But perhaps Sasha’s best offering is the amazing Last Best Chocolate bar: gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free, kosher, organic, and made with only cacao butter, cacao powder, coconut palm sugar, and vanilla, and of course available in two versions, Spicy and Not So Spicy.
While in Mexico at a yoga retreat, Sasha met Hector Jesus Flores Michel of Mexicolate in San Pancho, who became her source of organic and kosher cacao butter and powder, processed from beans grown and fermented in Chiapas. Sasha also sells cacao nibs that are much more flavorful than what I’ve tasted before.
Along with jars of spice and bars of chocolate, Sasha offers gluten-free granola and spicy roasted pumpkin seeds, which you can use as an inexpensive substitute for pine nuts in pesto. Her imagination is boundless, which she attributes to paying attention to that “little voice.”
She convinced Daniels Gourmet Meats in Bozeman to put her spice in beef sticks and jerky; she invented a Divine Old-Fashioned that you can taste at the Dry Hills Distillery in Bozeman; and she has an idea to add her spice to a body cream made by a Colorado woman that she’ll be selling in her store soon.
“It’s the strangest thing,” Sasha said. “I feel like I’m the hands and feet of this spice that is so transformative. Once you start listening to that little voice and honoring it, then the world is just a better place.”
In this spirit, Sasha gives 10 percent of her proceeds to charity — any charity she believes will benefit. Customers are encouraged to suggest a charity, and each month Sasha draws a name and contributes to it.
“One of the things about the Camino is that you walk with people,” Sasha said. “Strangers. You get to know their story, you get to know all about them. You may not even know their name, but they leave an impression on you. And that’s what I’m doing here. The Livingston Food Resource Center, they left an impression on me. Daniels Gourmet Meats, they left an impression on me. There are all these people who’ve left an impression on me.”
[photo caption: Camino Spice chocolate bars are made by hand and with love.]
113 W. Park, Ste. 5 (behind Montana Cup)
by Kylie Purcell
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