Friday, July 2, 2010

The Spice & Tea Exchange

I have highlighted spices from The Spice & Tea Exchange in the past few posts so I decided to bring my camera and take a few snapshots. Oddly enough, there was another girl in there doing the exact same thing when I arrived. The place can get pretty crowded on the weekends later in the afternoon; I would suggest stopping in on Saturday morning. They are right across from the Alexandria Farmers Market on the square off of King Street.

I had stopped in to buy Dan's Father's Day gift from Remi (he doesn't have thumbs...or I had to help him out...naturally!) We received a grill from his parents for our two year anniversary and ever since he studied in Spain in college, he has been talking about a mortar and pestle. Anyhow, Remi thought it might be nice to get Dan one so that he could make his own spice blends. Remi decided on a black marble one that had some cool engravings--we'll post it when Dan makes a good spice rub later this summer.

One thing that is fascinating to me are the chunks of Himalayan sea salt. Beautiful Pink craggy orbs. I always want to purchase one of these though I'm not really sure if it is even practical because I have no idea what I would use it on.

They encourage you to smell the spices (accept for the pepper of course) so that you can smell the differences between them all.

There is a wall of different types of salt--above is Cyprus Black Lava Salt--they have fleur de sel, truffle salt, whatever you may desire. They also have a wall of flavored sugars: lime, coconut, vanilla, espresso, etc.

According to a bit of research (and asking the lovely folks at the spice shop) there are two main types of cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is native to Southeast Asia (i.e. southern China and northern Vietnam) and has a strong, spicy-sweet flavor that most of us would recognize as "cinnamon".
Ceylon, or "true" cinnamon, has a more complex flavor and less bite in my opinion--I have come to prefer Ceylon with baking and it pairs well with fruit dishes.

In all, I have just begun to appreciate the value of fresh spices and having this little shop by me has been quite nice.

1 comment:

  1. Patricia, great photos of our store, particularly with our dim lighting! Thanks for posting! and can use the Bolivian Rose chunks in place of table salt....a shave instead of a sprinkle! Joy