It all started at a potluck party during the holidays, mine was a sweet dish made of saffron and milk, hardly had she taken her first bite, the lady sitting across me said, “Delicious! Did you make it ?”to which, I nodded happily. She wanted to know what went into making the dish and I shared my recipe, that’s when she’s asked me, “Did you get the saffron from Sri Lanka ? ” A little puzzled, I shook my head saying, “Where does one get that, here?”She let me in on a little secret then, she quickly pulled a pen and paper and scribbled something in it,handing the paper to me, she winked and said, “Go on, enrich your cooking experience with the best spices in town, you will thank me one day!” I tucked that little piece of paper in my coat pocket and forgot all about it, until recently ,when I was putting away my winter clothes.Sticking out of my coat pocket, was this little piece of paper with the magic words, ‘Penzeys Spices’. It was during one of those holiday parties , that she had given me the note, it was unlikely that I’d go looking for this place amidst three feet of snow, this weekend however, it was warm and sunny, Spring has set in , in this part of the world finally! Slowly I followed the local Spice route through my GPS, it was an easy find. It is an incredible shop in a great location,set amidst the buzzing traffic of the city’s downtown area, next to Starbucks and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory , with a great ambience.
A wonderful spice laced aroma greets one at the door, as you enter the store.The store is a logically laid out with plenty of space to move around.Huge windows allow the warm sun light to stream in upon the slightly rustic wooden shelves and racks displaying a vast array of seasonings, baking spices, herbs, rubs, and blends, worthy of a king’s ransom. Indeed, they do sell the actual saffron, which once commanded its weight in gold.
Their set up is very user friendly and it’s very easy to find what you are looking for,since they are grouped together in ways that make sense, the staff are very friendly and helpful in guiding you to the spices you are looking for.If you love to cook or bake, this is the place to go. a bit on the expensive side , yet the selection and quality of their spices is beyond compare.
This place is a spice lover’s paradise,with clearly labelled sections (Herbs, Chili, Seasoning etc).One is bombarded with an aroma of spice fragrances as you walk through the aisles.
There are aisles and aisles of every spice you could ever want. The quality is much better than the spices you can usually find at the grocery store, because they are freshly ground and aromatic.
One could also get small “test” jars, so that one is not overspending on something you are not quite sure about.They carry empty jars and do-it-yourself kits too. All products are available in bags to refill jars, a nice economic and ecological friendly touch.
The variety of spices is staggering, Vietnamese cinnamon, Fox Point seasoning blend, Raspberry Enlightenment (sauce), Sunny Paris seasoning blend, and Mexican vanilla extract…you name it, they are there! It’s a great place to educate oneself in the ways of the world spices.
They have recipes scattered about the store on handy cards,for those of us willing to experiment with new unheard of spices.
In the back of the store is an adorable oldie time kitchen, with flowery frilled window curtains, which displays all of their cinnamons.Be it cinnamon from China, Indonesia, Vietnam or perhaps Ceylon Cinnamon?…perhaps a blend of all of them? They are fresher and smell so much better!
They even have a vast hot chocolate section and ready to go gift boxes with a rich blend of chocolate , a perfect gift for chocolate (and coffee) lovers.
Their pre-made gift boxes are amazing,ranging from an assortment of four essential baking spices to wedding boxes with a massive range.They certainly would make excellent gifts for wedding showers, house-warming, or Christmas season. Who doesn’t love new and different spices ??
Make sure you get on their mailing list when you make your first purchase, for their promos.They also send nice offers by mail attached to their catalog which you can redeem in store during your next visit. The catalog also has many new recipes to try and interesting facts about the spices.Sign up for their bimonthly newsletters, a small magazine indexing their stock, and featuring seasonal recipes, for free coupons to obtain generous jars of a featured spice or serious discounts good in-store or online.
Walked out of the store a good half hour later, a happy Spice girl,with a few spices in hand to boot, you never know who you will bump into during your next potluck dinner and the places you will go, on your Spice route 🙂