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I recently saw a recipe that called for Turkish Bay Leaves. Is this any different than the kind I would find in a standard spice bottle labeled "Bay Leaves", or is this a form of exotic marketing? Are there even different types of Bay Leaves?

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"Normal" Bay leaves... As opposed to "abnormal" bay leaves? j/k... ;-) – Josh Sep 10 '10 at 23:13

According to The Spice House:

The flavor of these Turkish bay leaves is far milder and more complex than that of domestic bay; it adds a subtly sweet astringency to dishes. Only one or two are needed to enhance a whole roast, pot of soup or stew.

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I consider them "normal"; they're the oval-shaped bay leaves. There's a "California" bay leaf variety that has elongated leaves and a slightly different flavor. alt text

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Are there even different types of Bay Leaves?

There is the California Bay Laurel Umbellularia californica.

Turkish Bay is Laurus nobilis


We have an California Bay Laurel (AKA Oregon Myrtle) growing in our yard. While looking the same and smelling like normal store bought bay leafs like from Spice Island, it is 10 times more pungent. I used it once and that was the last time.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Figured I'd check the site of the brand I use. Turns out they are Turkish:

The bay tree is native to the Mediterranean region and Asia Minor. The bay or laurel tree grows well in the subtropics and is cultivated today as a spice in the Far East as well as the Canary Islands, France, Belgium, Mexico, Central America and Turkey (where McCormick's bay leaves are grown).

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