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The Food of Love: Italian Herbs and Spices

Italian Herbs and Spices“Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
It’s almost Valentine’s Day,
And we have just the Italian Herbs and Spices for you!”

So, just in case you live under a rock, Valentine’s Day is February 14, and if you don’t already have ideas brewing for how to express love for the special people in your life, we have a suggestion. How about a lovely homemade Italian meal? Okay, so before you start overthinking this, let us assuage your fears. Making a romantic dinner is a heartfelt way to say “I love you” without resorting to the overplayed flowers, candies, and gifts.

For centuries, food has played a very important role in love and relationships, especially Italian food. A number of the ingredients found in traditional Italian dishes are considered aphrodisiacs — foods that are said to have qualities that promote feelings of love and desire. According to Italian Food Forever, these “Foods of Love” include garlic, endive, fennel, cloves, tomatoes, nutmeg, chocolate, and more. We don’t know about you, but these sound like the perfect makings for a scrumptious Italian meal.

So, what better way to set the mood this Valentine’s Day than by preparing a tasty and romantic Italian meal with the help of your friends at Old Town Spice Shop and our fresh and delicious Italian Herbs and Spices? Some of our best-selling Italian Herbs and Spices are our dip mixes. Easier than making an entire meal from scratch, you can create a simple spin on an Italian picnic. Sprinkle on a plate, add olive oil, and bon appetit! Or you can make a flavorful pasta by adding some oil or butter and sprinkle our mixes directly into the pasta. Add your favorite protein and, voila, you have a full meal. Way to go!

“Some of the best Italian food in the world is simple,” explains Old Town Spice Shop owner Sean Godbey. “I find that most people overthink everything that goes into Italian food. You don’t have to slave in the kitchen for hours on end to make the perfect sauce. You can easily make a pasta with vegetables you already have laying around the kitchen. Just cook them up in butter or olive oil, and season with garlic, Greek oregano, sweet basil, a nice flaked salt, and for a touch of heat, our Calabrian chiles. Add a touch of acid, like lemon juice, and your family will love it! Buona mangiata!”

For more tasty ideas, make sure to swing by Old Town Spice Shop, your friendly local spice shop, and peruse our shelves for spices, spice blends, salts, and anything else you’ll need to create the culinary masterpiece that you’ve been dreaming about — Italian or not. Or visit us online at www.oldtownspiceshop.com. Because after all, “il cibo é l’essenza della vita” — food is the essence of life!

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Bacon Salt

What’s the next best thing for bacon lovers aside from wrapping all of your food in strips of delicious, thick-cut bacon? Well, our Old Town Spice Shop Bacon Salt, of course! If you love the taste of bacon in all of its salty and porky glory, we totally understand. That’s why our specialty bacon salt is one of our bestsellers. We can help you make ALL THE THINGS taste like bacon without the added fat of actual bacon. See, it’s a win-win.

Our vegetarian-friendly and kosher certified Bacon Salt is a salt for both bacon lovers and those just looking for that new unique flavor to add to your standard dishes. This salt captures that sweet, smoky bacon flavor and adds just a pinch of heat at the end. You can use our Bacon Salt to flavor otherwise sad, baconless dishes like eggs, french fries, chips, or salads. Or you can try it when creating any of these dishes below that are simply crying out to have our Bacon Salt added to them.

Baked Potatoes – Nothing adds a mouth-watering pop of flavor to your standard baked potato the way that Bacon Salt does. Sprinkle it over the top of your potato and let our salt take care of the rest.

Hamburgers – When mixing up your next batch of hamburger meat, toss in some Bacon Salt and watch your standard burger transform into a gourmet grilling dreamboat.

Tofu – Okay, just go with us here…cut up strips of tofu, sprinkle on the Bacon Salt, and saute to create a tasty new twist on tofu. You’re welcome.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches – Grilled cheese sandwiches are basically prime for adding any sort of additional and unique flavor. Bacon Salt and grilled cheese sandwiches are a match made in epicurean heaven.

Salad Dressings and Marinades – Toss a bit of our tasty Bacon Salt in your next vinaigrette or marinade and up the ante of your next meal.

These are just a few ideas when it comes to incorporating more bacon-y goodness into your life. Just make sure to create these bacon delicacies using our tasty and tempting Old Town Spice Shop Bacon Salt. And sprinkle any of the other delicious salts from your favorite local spice shop on your favorite dishes and see how fresh, quality flavor can transform your life. Visit our online spice store or come on down to the shop to discover even more seasonally inspired spices, blends, sauces, and so much more. Your palate will thank you!

Stocking Stuffers: Ideas From Your Local Herb and Spice Shop

Herb and Spice ShopCan you believe that Christmas is next week? If that fills you with a slight sense of dread, rather than jubilation, you might still be working through your holiday gift list. It’s okay. We totally get it. Here at Old Town Spice Shop, your local herb and spice shop, we understand that there’s a lot to do during the holiday season and gift-buying is just one of many tasks.

We also know what’s likely at the very bottom of your gift list: stocking stuffers. The “Oh, I’ll just grab those while I’m out” mentality often results in stocking stuffers being a last-minute scramble. We can help. We have the best, most unique, tasty, and aromatic stocking stuffers that you could ever desire. Check it out:

Blends and Seasonings

One of the most fun things about our spices is blending them together to make new and delicious flavor combinations. There are different blends for every type of cuisine—from Italian, to pho, to cajun, to popcorn seasonings and dip mixes. We do our best to create our blends right in the store, making them as fresh as possible. And our blends and seasonings all come in cute bags or bottles – perfect for stocking stuffers!  

Brewhouse Sauces

We’re not your typical herb and spice shop. We offer an array of hot sauces, mustards, and easy-to-make marinades and dressings for sale online and in our spice store in Fort Collins, CO. Some of our favorites include our Brewhouse Sauces. These are unique hot sauces, mustards, and BBQ sauces, like Jack Slade’s Revenge, crafted using bock from Gilded Goat Brewing, a recent gold medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival, or our unique Noco Beer Jelly, which makes the perfect beer lover’s gift. Any of our tasty sauces would make a delicious and lovely addition to your pile of stocking stuffers.

Hopped Up Coffee

We love a steaming hot cup of coffee here at Old Town Spice Shop; that and a tasty local brew, so we decided to combine the two! Our unique line of Hopped Up Coffee is a single-origin coffee, blended with Cascade hops and various malted barleys to add the texture and sweetness of different beer styles. A bag of Hopped Up Coffee is the perfect stocking stuffer! Not only is the bag the perfect size, but you can pull it out, open it up, and enjoy a hot cup of joe while you finish opening presents. Now that sounds like a win-win to us.

These are just a few stocking stuffer ideas. If you’d like some more ideas, a bit of holiday inspiration, or to browse our selection of spices, blends and seasonings, and so much more, swing by our local herb and spice shop, located at 130A S. College in Old Town Fort Collins, or check us out online at www.oldtownspiceshop.com.

Holiday Shopping Guide: Herbs and Spices and Everything Nice

herbs and spicesWith the holidays quickly approaching, you’re probably currently working through your holiday shopping list and checking it twice. In this case, we recommend herbs and spices and everything nice for your loved ones this year. When it comes to the most special people in your life, there’s nothing more satisfying than giving the perfect gift—something useful, fun, and a little unexpected. That’s exactly what we’ve got for you here at Old Town Spice Shop, your favorite local spice shop.

Here is a holiday gift guide with fun gift suggestions created for those dearest to you, who are often the hardest to shop for—Mom and Dad, or your mom and dad equivalent. It seems like they already have just about everything they need, and when asked what they want, you can’t seem to nail down a decisive answer. Well, wonder no more.

Mom

When it comes to holiday shopping for Mom, a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year is of the utmost importance. After all, she’s quite down to earth and likely already has a plethora of old holiday gifts that are just taking up space and attracting dust at this point in time. There’s nothing Mom will love more than being fully stocked with all the necessary cooking and baking essentials she’ll need for whipping up all of the culinary delights that her heart desires throughout the New Year. Consider gifting her fresh, quality extracts and sugars, herbs and spices, and blends and seasonings. We also carry a lovely array of teas, from fruit tea to chai to oolong, and our favorite, Winter Blend Tea. She’ll be set and ready to rock it in the kitchen in 2019, thanks to you…*insert big, wet, appreciative kiss.

Dad

We get it. It’s a fact. Holiday shopping for Dad can be a challenge. If you’re struggling with holiday gift ideas for dear old Dad, have no fear; we’ve got it covered. Here’s a few for starters: grilling spices (you might want to check out our Grill Master Gift Box, which comes complete with an array of tasty dry rubs and marinades); our line of Brewhouse Sauces, including our unique hot sauce, mustard, BBQ sauces or NoCo Beer Jelly; and you may also want to check out our lineup of spicy peppers and chilis to help spice up his holidays, or one of our tasty smoked salts!

These are just a few culinary-themed ideas to grease your wheels and give you a bit of inspiration. Herbs and spices and everything nice is one way to let Mom and Dad—or anybody else on your list—know that you’re thinking about them and want to gift them something unique, useful, tasty, and fun. Swing by the shop and let us help you pick out the perfect holiday gift for anybody on your list, or visit us online at www.oldtownspiceshop.com.

Small Business Saturday Snapshot: Old Town Spice Shop, Your Local Spice Shop

local spice shopAromatic smells and contented smiles have been rolling out of Old Town Spice Shop, your local spice shop, since 2010. In fact, December 3, 2010, is when the shop first opened its doors in its previous location at 220 Linden Street. Since that time, there has been a move to our current location at 130A S. College Ave., right in the heart of Old Town Fort Collins. There has also been no shortage of tasty morsels, savvy spice know-how, and delicious creations as a result of the freshness and quality of the spices, blends, seasonings, and other products available at our shop.

One thing that sets us apart is that we’re an independently owned Fort Collins spice shop. It was opened by the Godbey Family because of their love for the community, for Colorado, and for fresh and tasty spices. And now with Small Business Saturday Fort Collins just around the corner on Saturday, November 24, we’d like to take a moment and sit down with owner and manager Sean Godbey to chat about all things Old Town Spice Shop.

Q: Your family moved to Colorado in 1985. Where is your family originally from?

SG: Phoenix, AZ. I moved here when I was 1.

Q: What brought the family out to Colorado?

SG: My parents wanted a good place for us to grow up in a smaller city. CSU was an attraction as well.

Q: How are your spices tailored to the Colorado way of life?

SG: We do our best to tailor what we make to how people cook in Colorado. A lot of people like to cook from the land, so spices that are great with vegetables. Also, spices that help highlight the agricultural background of the area, so making sure we have great rubs for everything you would do with meat. People also like things spicy. So we make sure we can bring the heat when people want it!

Q: Have you always been interested in spices?

SG: I have always loved spices, but when we started this business we had a huge learning curve. I learned a lot about spices in the first year we opened. I still learn new things every day and I love it!

Q: Are you a good cook?

SG: I like to think I am. But like anyone, I have my areas I am most comfortable in. The one area that I need the most help with is baking. Luckily, my wife is a great baker, so I don’t have to be 🙂

Q: What is your favorite thing/dish to cook?

SG: My go-to favorite meal to cook and eat is hot wings. However, I love to cook a new recipe, and then change the recipe the next time I make it to make it better. Even after 15 years of trying to master hot wings, I still change the recipe every once in a while.

Q: What is your favorite spice aroma?

SG: Aroma is a funny thing. It stimulates the brain in a way that it can immediately take you back in time. For me, cardamom is one of my favorites. It reminds me of taking trips to the Middle East, sitting in coffee houses drinking Turkish Coffee. Prior to opening Old Town Spice Shop, I worked for a church here in Fort Collins. I had good friends that lived there, and I would go visit them on mission trips.

Q: Do you have an all-time favorite spice?

SG: No, there are too many fun spices in the world. I have my go-to spices for different things, but really most of the time I like trying new things.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of owning Old Town Spice Shop?

SG: Sharing fun new things. We get to work with customers every day wanting to make their life better through flavor. We get to help them figure out what to use to make that happen.

Q: What is it like being a small business owner in Fort Collins?

SG: Great! The community of small business owners downtown is amazing. Owning and managing a small business can be daunting at times. What is great is that there is always someone else that has gone through something similar who is willing to give you ideas on how to make it better.

Q: Where do you see OTSS in the next five years? Ten years?

SG: Our store isn’t going anywhere. We are lucky enough to have great relationships with numerous businesses throughout our community. I hope that in five to ten years we will be able to grow those relationships to continue to make Fort Collins better.

Q: What are your favorite customer interactions?

SG: When I work the store, I love seeing customers that have come in for years. I also love when new customers come in and are overwhelmed with options or get super excited about all the things they want to cook.

This is just a small snippet into the heart and soul of your local spice shop, Old Town Spice Shop. With the holidays rapidly approaching, now is the most important time of the year to head to Downtown Fort Collins and support local businesses, like us, Old Town Spice Shop. Remember to #ShopSmall this Holiday Season and come say hi! We invite everyone to taste the difference that fresh spices, blends and seasonings, teas, sugars, extracts, and other products can make in your life.

Crock Pot Perfection: Our Recommended Spices for Chili

spices for chiliOh slow cooker, how we love thee…Can we get an “amen”?

You have to admit, there’s nothing better than coming home after a long day to an already-prepared homemade meal that your family can devour right this minute. Not only that, but its heavenly aromas are also currently permeating every crevice of your home with its home-cooked, savory goodness. Nothing quite makes you feel like more of a domestic god or goddess.

And let’s not forget about the crock pot’s currently trending and much more stylish cousin, the instant pot. Done in a flash while retaining all of the juice and flavor of a traditional slow cooker meal. These are hot right now, and for good reason.

When it comes to crock pot and instant pot meals, one of our favorites is chili. Its hearty, warm deliciousness is hard to beat, and it’s also quite simple to prepare. But we’ve got a few tips that will take your chili from standard to superior with the addition of some simple spices for chili.

Urfa Biber

Instead of traditional chili peppers, why not try something a little more spicy and non-traditional? We suggest using Urfa Biber chili flakes. The curing process of this Turkish chili leaves a high moisture content and encourages complex smoky flavors of rich chocolate, roasted coffee, and tangy raisins. Not only is Urfa Biber recommended for taking your crockpot chili to a whole new level, it’s also tasty raw, sprinkled over pungent cheeses or cooked into sauces for braised meats. These chilies even taste good on ice cream!

Cumin

There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it: cumin is a must when it comes to delicious chili creation. The aromatic seeds of a plant in the parsley family, cumin is typical in many spice blends and is a staple spice in many cuisines, especially Mexican, Indian, African, and Asian. It has a very distinctive flavor with an earthy, nutty, spicy taste that has bitter undertones and a warm aroma, and it’s utterly delectable when added to chili. Luckily, we carry both ground cumin and whole seed cumin.

Chocolate or Cinnamon

Another way to give your chili a flavor boost is by adding chocolate or cinnamon. You heard us right: chocolate or cinnamon. Try picking one of these to add with your traditional spices into your next batch of chili: 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 whole cinnamon stick, or 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Or try adding a few squares of good-quality dark chocolate along with the tomatoes and let them melt slowly into the chili.

Harissa or Berbere

To bring a more exotic flair to the table, try harissa or berbere. Described as “Tunisia’s main condiment,” harissa is commonly used in Northern Africa to flavor stews, soups, and couscous. Most standard harissas include a blend of hot chile peppers, garlic, olive oil, cumin, coriander, caraway, and mint. Berbere is an Ethiopian spice mixture that is the flavor foundation of Ethiopian cuisine, a basic ingredient in Dabo Kolo, Doro Wat, and many other dishes. It’s a spice mixture whose constituent elements usually include chili peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, korarima, rue, ajwain or radhuni, nigella, and fenugreek.

So the next time your crock pot or instant pot chili night rolls around, go with a less traditional spin by utilizing some of our recommended spices for chili. Or swing on by the Old Town Spice Shop, a local independent Fort Collins Spice Shop, located at 130A S. College Ave. in Old Town Fort Collins. We could chat about spices all day. Let us know what spice questions you have. We’re always happy to help!

Our Top 5 Favorite Fall Baking Spices

As soon as the air gets crisp and the leaves start crunching underfoot, we’re not sure about you, but everyone here at Old Town Spice Shop can’t help but get a little bit giddy over fall baking spices. Fall is one of our favorite seasons when it comes to cooking and baking. The cooler temperature lends itself to savory slow-cooker meals and mouth-watering baked goodies.

Therefore, in the spirit of fun fall baking, we’ve decided to fill you in on our top five favorite fall baking spices. This way you’ll be stocked up on everything you need for some epic fall baking and equally as epic fall eating. I mean, you’ve got to stay warm this winter somehow, right?  Here goes….

Cinnamon

Mmmmmm…. no other flavor quite denotes the fall season like cinnamon. Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. It’s used mainly as an aromatic condiment and a flavoring additive in a wide array of cuisines. The aroma and flavor of cinnamon are derived from its essential oil and principal component, cinnamaldehyde. There are a number of species of cinnamon including Cassia, Chinese, Saigon, and Ceylon—true cinnamon. From cinnamon-spiced apples to apple cobbler to snickerdoodles, there are a number of tasty fall treats that will make you fall in love with cinnamon all over again.

Luckily, we’ve got all of the fresh cinnamon you could want here at your Fort Collins herbs and spices store. Check out our impressive lineup of cinnamons here.

Nutmeg

Grab your cable-knit sweater and infinity scarves because nutmeg is the next fall baking spice on our list. Did you know that nutmeg is the seed or ground spice of several species of the genus Myristica fragrans? It’s a dark-leaved evergreen tree cultivated for two spices derived from its fruit: nutmeg, from its seed, and mace, from the seed covering. It has a distinctive pungent fragrance and a warm, slightly sweet taste. Its flavor can be found in many types of baked goods, confections, sauces, vegetables, and even eggnog. Some of our favorite nutmeg-inspired recipes include spice cake, french toast, candied pecans, and apple pie.

We appreciate anything nutmeg-derived, which is why we carry ground nutmeg, whole nutmeg and other spices in the nutmeg family. Check them out here.

Allspice

According to theepicentre.com, allspice takes its name from its aroma, which smells like a combination of spices, including cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Allspice is the only spice that is grown exclusively in the Western Hemisphere. The evergreen tree that produces the allspice berries is indigenous to the rainforests of South and Central America, where it grows wild. Dried allspice berries resemble large brown peppercorns. Its flavor is pungent and aromatic, with peppery overtones. What are some of our favorite allspice-flavored fall treats? Let’s start with mulled cider, spice cake, or a number of tasty holiday cocktails. Now that’s what we’re talking about.

Try our Mexican Ground Allspice or Mexican Whole Allspice.

Ginger

Want some zing in your fall baking? Then, we suggest ginger. Ginger is a flowering plant whose stem, ginger root—or simply ginger—is used a spice. Ginger is in the family Zingiberaceae, in which also belong turmeric, cardamom, and galangal. Ginger produces a hot, fragrant flavor and is used quite often in Indian and Caribbean cuisine. When it comes to fall baking spices, ginger is one of our favorite. Want to know why? Because of gingerbread of course! There’s also ginger cake, ginger cobbler, ginger spiced molasses cookies, ginger snaps, ginger cheesecake….we could go on.

You want ginger? We’ve got it here at Old Town Spice Shop.

Cloves

Cloves are the aromatic flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae, which are native to Indonesia. The clove tree is an evergreen that grows up to 25 to 40 feet tall, with large leaves and crimson flowers. The most noticeable component of the clove taste is imparted by the chemical eugenol, and the flavor pairs well with cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, red wine, basil, onion, citrus, star anise, and peppercorns. There are a number of tasty autumn-inspired beverages that are clove-heavy, including a number of hot toddies, mulled ciders, and chai drinks. Cloves are also quite prevalent in a number of fall baking classics already mentioned, such as gingerbread and pumpkin pie.  

And last but not least, did you know (said in your best Captain Planet voice) that when these five items are combined, they magically become Pumpkin Pie Spice, another one of our favorite fall baking spices!

There you have it, a delicious rundown of our favorite fall baking spices and dishes. Now, if you don’t mind, we have a gingerbread hankering that we need to alleviate. In the meantime, come on into Old Town Spice Shop, a local independent Fort Collins Spice Shop at 130A S. College in Old Town Fort Collins, to check out our selection of spices, blends and seasonings, salts, sugars, and so much more!

 

Hopped Up Coffee: A Craft Coffee for Beer Lovers

As you probably already know, we love a steaming hot cup of coffee here at Old Town Spice Shop. And we also like nothing better than a tasty local brew, so we decided to combine the two into our very own line of specialty coffees called Hopped Up Coffee. Hopped Up Coffee is a single-origin coffee, with blended Cascade hops, and various malted barley to add the texture and sweetness of various beer styles.

We’re proud to collaborate with Jackie’s Java, Northern Colorado’s coffee roaster, to ensure that the coffee we use is fairly purchased from the farmer, single-origin, and roasted to our specifications. We also gather inspiration from a number of awesome local breweries, including New Belgium, Odell, Horse & Dragon, Purpose Brewing, DC Oakes, Intersect, Maxline, Zwei and others, for mouthwatering flavor ideas.

While we may be pioneering the realm of beer-infused coffee, craft coffee has been gaining popularity for years. According to MarketWatch, similar to craft beers, “Craft coffee refers to the pursuit of making a cup of high-quality coffee, while also engaging consumers in the story of the coffee…by experimenting with bringing out different flavor nodes to make a cup of black coffee taste more nuanced.”

While we enjoy the much-needed and proverbial kick in the pants that coffee provides, coffee is no longer solely consumed just for the jolt of energy. Consumers are seeing it as an overall experience to be enjoyed. From the grinding of the beans to the aroma, to the roasting and brewing philosophy, people are learning about what’s in their cup and are enjoying this new-found relationship with their morning cup o’ joe.

We get it. As your trusted local spice shop, we understand that eating, drinking, and creating culinary creations are adventures to be experienced and enjoyed, and this applies to coffee as well. This is precisely why we’ve decided to merge two of our favorite flavors—coffee and beer—in a revolutionary new way.

And now that fall is officially here, we’d also like to unveil our new seasonal Hopped Up Coffee, our Pumpkin Ale Coffee! Bringing the delicious flavor of fall to your morning, our Pumpkin Ale Coffee is a tasty combination of freshly roasted coffee, malted barley, hops, and a hint of pumpkin spice. This seasonal selection is only available throughout the month of October. It’s autumn in a cup, and you’re going to love it.

While craft coffee and craft beer might be buzzwords (buzz…get it?), the idea behind the craft revolution is something that this local spice shop can completely get behind. Striving to understand the story behind our morning or afternoon cup of coffee and turning it into an overall experience—now that sounds like a brew-tiful sentiment!

Come on into the Old Town Spice Shop, a local independent Fort Collins Spice Shop at 130A S. College in Old Town Fort Collins, to check out our selection of Hopped Up Coffees and perhaps take a whiff of their mouthwatering aromas. Or order online here.

Hidden Treasures: The Best Spices That You’re Not Using

herbs and spices storeThe road to creating a culinary masterpiece is often riddled with unexpected bumps and ruts. Lots of things can impede your progress, from unexpected recipe failures, to adjusting cooking times and temps, to ingredient malfunctions. This is often why we stay in a rut that feels the most comfortable to us, a.k.a. chicken breast and spaghetti on the regular. However, take it from us, your friendly local herbs and spices store: going off course and trying something new is the best way to get out of a rut. Why not make something unique and tasty for dinner tonight?

Another suggestion while traveling the road to delicious horizons? Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for hidden treasures along the way. The hidden treasures that we’re referring to include under-utilized ingredients. You know, those ingredients that you’ve never used because you’re just not sure how it will come out? Or perhaps they just seem a little complex and intimidating. Well, this is where we come in.

Being in the spice business, as your herbs and spices store of choice, we see an array of tasty ingredients that we know will add pizzazz to your next meal go mostly unnoticed. So we’ve decided to give these under-the-radar spices the recognition they deserve, as the best spices you’re not using.

Saigon Cinnamon

Used primarily for its aromatic bark, Saigon cinnamon is a form of cassia, but with a more pronounced and complex aroma, Saigon cinnamon is also called Vietnamese cinnamon. It comes from an evergreen tree indigenous in Southeast Asia and consists of 1-5% essential oils, which is the highest percentage of all cinnamon species. It is sweeter and stronger than cassia. For these reasons, Saigon cinnamon is often considered the best cinnamon. The Saigon cinnamon that we sell at Old Town Spice Shop is 5% essential oil.

Urfa Biber Chile Flakes

The curing process of this Turkish chile, cultivated in the Urfa region of Turkey, leaves a high moisture content and encourages complex smoky flavors of rich chocolate, roasted coffee, and tangy raisins. Excellent raw, sprinkled over pungent cheeses, or cooked into sauces for braised meats, these chiles even taste good on ice cream. Urfa biber is less spicy than many other chile peppers, but provides a more lasting build of heat. According to Food and Wine Magazine, it is quickly becoming a go-to ingredient for chefs across the country.

Dulse

Dulse is harvested in the cool water along the Atlantic coast of Canada and also along the shores of Ireland and Norway. This sea vegetable is full of potassium, iodine, Vitamin B, fiber, and protein. Dulse can be eaten raw, roasted, fried, dried, or as a thickening agent for soups. There are a number of alternate names for dulse seaweed, including sea parsley, dilsk, creathnach, and sol. It has a hint of salty marine flavor and can be used as a substitute for salt.

kaffir lime leavesKaffir Lime Leaves

The kaffir lime leaf is essential when cooking Thai curries and soups; however, an array of dishes can benefit from the flavor. One of the most aromatic of all herbs, ground kaffir lime leaves are an easy way to add a floral citrus flavor to soups, curries, and homemade curry pasta. And according to thespruceeats.com, if a recipe calls for kaffir lime leaves and you don’t have them, do not substitute with another ingredient, as there is no replacement for the unique flavor the kaffir lime leaf imparts to a dish.

These are just a few of the hidden ingredient treasures that you will definitely want to try in your next culinary creation. If you would like to learn about other tasty spices that you’re likely not using but should be, swing on by our herbs and spices store located in Fort Collins, CO, or check out our online spice store for more delicious suggestions. Cooking is an adventure, so take an opportunity to smell, taste, ask questions, and go on this adventure with us. You’ll be glad you did!

Spice Ideas for Summer Garden Veggies

Take one look around town and you’ll likely see a backyard, community garden, or farmers market bursting forth with tasty-looking fruits and veggies peeking out from behind massive leafy growth. Ahhhh…it’s garden season. One of the freshest and most delicious times of the year. And whether you choose to grill, saute, mince, or gobble them straight off the stem, garden veggies are one of our favorite foods to spice.

Here are some of the most common veggies that are or will soon be ready to harvest with some spice suggestions from your friendly, local herbs and spices store, Old Town Spice Shop:

Cucumbers and Tomatoes: These are two of our favorite summer veggies! How can you go wrong with cucumbers and tomatoes? Especially when you mix them together for one fresh and tasty treat! Here’s one of our favorite ways to prepare these two summer garden standards. Dice cucumbers, tomatoes, and green onions, and mix together on a serving platter. Add feta cheese and olive oil (may we suggest our very own Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil?). Then generously apply Greek Seasoning. This is a fantastic dip or great on a salad.

Corn: Whether it’s as high as an elephant’s eye or just about mouth-high as we munch sweet kernels right off the cob, corn is delectably in season right now and we couldn’t be more ready. We enjoy corn on the grill, simply roasted with butter and sprinkled with Chili Lime Seasoning.

Peppers: Whatever type of peppers you’re growing are the type of peppers that make for a fantastic, fresh, and delicious summertime snack. Try your prized peppers roasted with Roasted Vegetable Seasoning, Fajita Seasoning, or Sweet Onion Sugar. Mmmmmm….our mouths are watering just thinking about it.

However you choose to prepare them, there’s nothing like having fresh garden veggies in the summer. Sprinkle any of these delicious additions from Old Town Spice Shop, your favorite local spice shop, onto your favorite veggies and add a fantastic burst of flavor to your fresh green goodies. Visit our online spice store or come on down to the shop to discover even more seasonally inspired spices, blends, sauces, and so much more. Your palate will thank you!