Sometimes you find hidden gems in places you’ve visited dozens of times. This was the case on a recent trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
I usually buy spices for our kitchen at the grocery store. They’ve most likely been sitting on the shelves for months, and the variety is usually typical and uninspiring.
While walking around the cobblestoned Portsmouth waterfront, my husband and I noticed a charming storefront decorated with flowers and wrought iron. The sign read “Stock + Spice”. My husband, the true cook in our house, immediately began to salivate.
Stock + Spice is a small shop which specializes in selling herbs and spices from around the world. They also create their own blends of spices and rubs which are frequently used next door at the award winning bistro and wine bar, Black Trumpet. We didn’t have the chance to dine there, but we’d like to in the future.
The shop is cozy and inviting, with whitewashed brick walls, wooden ceiling beams, and rustic shelving and tables. As well as the small glass spice bottles, you’ll find an assortment of books, grains, condiments and sauces made by local producers, and difficult to find cocktail bitters.
On this day, however, we were all about the spices.
You’re encouraged to open the jars and take a smell. Your nose is instantly grateful that you did. The spices are odiferous and fresh. You’ve got your usual spices like cumin, thyme, and rosemary. Then there are more exotic spices, many of which I’ve never even heard of. Jars of cincona bark, Balinese long pepper, epazote, and amchur line the shelves.
We thought the prices were very reasonable, given the quality of the spices and blends as well as the variety. The bottles that we chose ran us a mere $6.00 apiece. The shop attendant was friendly and informative, and glad to answer our many questions. Customer service isn’t always up to par, so it was refreshing to have a positive experience for a change.
I must admit, I’m looking forward to my husband cooking up some delicious dishes using the duqqa and berbere blend that we bought that day! I’m also looking forward to a return visit to the store, to stock up on the old and to try out the new!