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Choosing the Perfect Wedding Gift from Your Favorite Herbs and Spices Store

herbs and spices storeThe grass is green, the flowers are blooming, and love abounds. Ahhhhh…it’s springtime, and that also means that it’s wedding season. Your friends at Old Town Spice Shop, your favorite local herbs and spices store, want to make sure that you’re wedding season-primed with not only the best wedding gift ideas around, but also the most unique ideas that your smitten loved ones will treasure for a long time.

So what exactly would we recommend gifting to the lovebirds in your life this beautiful wedding season? Well, we’re glad you asked. Here are our recommendations:

Tea or Coffee – What better way to relax after the big day or to ease back into reality after that amazing 7-day honeymoon than with a steamy and delectable cup of tea? At Old Town Spice Shop, your local Fort Collins herbs and spices store, we are proud to offer a wide selection of tea, including a number of herbal teas, green teas, and a fantastic selection of black teas. Or if you prefer something with a bit more punch to it, you may also want to check out our Hopped Up Coffee. A single-origin coffee blended with hops and malted barley to add the texture and sweetness of various beer styles, this is a winner for any beer lover on your list.

Spice Blends – Now that the honeymoon is over, what better way for the newly married to show their love than by cooking up a storm for their beloved? The way to anybody’s heart is through their stomach, and the tastiest meals all begin with the tastiest ingredients. At Old Town Spice Shop, we believe that one of the most fun things about our herbs and spices storeand our spicesis blending them together to make new and delicious flavor combinations. Instantly, you get an endless amount of possibilities like Italian seasoning, pho spice blends, and Cajun spices. There are different blends for every type of cuisine. We offer everything from popcorn seasonings and dip mixes for your next get-together, to curries and other international blends to bring flavors from around the world to your table. Because most blends are just a mix of spices and herbs, we do our best to create our blends right in the store, making them as fresh as possible. There are numerous exclusive blends that you will find only at Old Town Spice Shop.

Gift Cards – Planning a wedding, getting married, and movingthese are all major life transitions, and oftentimes the last thing that’s on somebody’s mind in the midst of planning for such events is the contents of their kitchen or their spice cabinet. This is precisely why a gift card to Old Town Spice Shop may be the most perfect gift you could give as a wedding gift. A gift card is not only an excellent way to help the happy couple round out their spice cupboard, but it will also help them to achieve tasty sustenance once they can actually sit down for a second.

Gift Boxes –  If the happy couple already seems to have it all, here’s one thing that they probably don’t and would likely love to have: a gift box from Old Town Spice Shop! Our herbs and spices, blends and seasonings, loose leaf teas, extracts, sugars, and gourmet salts make the perfect gift for any occasion. This is why we’ve put together some great combinations to suit any palate and cooking ability. As a wedding present, we highly recommend either the Spice Cupboard in a Box or Movie Night Gift Set.

There you have it, a delicious rundown of our wedding gift recommendations this wedding season. Or if you’d rather peruse in person to see if you can find that perfect gift, come on down to 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!

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Himalayan Pink Salt

If you haven’t heard of Himalayan Pink Salt in all of its trendy, healthy, and magical glory, then let us introduce you. Himalayan Pink Salt is a type of rock salt from the Punjab region of Pakistan, near the foothills of the Himalayas. It has been described as one of the purest salts on Earth, with countless health benefits. But are all of these claims true? Let’s find out.  

According to Reader’s Digest, “Himalayan Pink Salt is the leftover deposits from a salty ocean during the pre-Cambrian age (around four billion years ago.) and contains over 80 minerals and trace elements — some of which give it it’s characteristic pink color.” It is debated, however, whether these additional trace elements and minerals are better for us to consume than mere sodium chloride, or table salt. Many believe that these trace elements also contribute to a myriad of health benefits, such as easing breathing difficulties, aiding vascular health, helping digestive disorders, improving nutrient absorption, and balancing the body’s pH levels.

“Many people are thinking it’s like taking a salt multivitamin,” says registered dietician Kelsey Mangano, PhD, RD, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, “but it actually couldn’t be further from the truth. People need to understand that the number of trace minerals that are essential for health is actually really small. We only need around eight trace minerals to prevent any types of deficiency symptom.”

So, aside from it’s exotic-looking pink hue and slightly different taste from table salt, it appears that there is really no scientific evidence showing that Himalayan Pink Salt provides more health benefits or magical properties than regular table salt. But it’s still awfully tasty! And it can be used in creative and interesting ways to cook, season meals, and preserve food. And Dr. Mangano does say, “I would advise people to consume the salt that they find is the most flavorful and makes their food the most exciting.”

Done. Himalayan Pink Salt it is.

So, it might not be all it’s cracked up to be, but it’s still mighty tasty, especially our very own Old Town Spice Shop fine Himalayan Pink Salt and coarse Himalayan Pink Salt. We also found this useful guide via Snapguide for recipes that feature Himalayan Pink Saltanything from ribeye steak to cranberry-rose sauce to peach pie to almond milk.

We always recommend trying something new, especially when it comes to standard ingredients such as table salt. Mix it up and enjoy the adventure. 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 the opportunity to smell, taste, ask questions, and go on this adventure with us. You’ll be glad you did!

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!

 

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!

Springtime Grilling Sidekicks: Rubs and Mustards

It’s officially springtime and you know what that means, right? It’s grilling season! We know that there will likely be a few more snowflakes yet to make an appearance before we can really sink our teeth into grilling season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of the warm days while they’re here, right?

At Old Town Spice Shop, your favorite local spice shop, we have a mouthwatering selection of grilling rubs that will take your BBQ to the next level. A spice rub is any mixture of ground spices made for the purpose of being rubbed on raw food before cooking or grilling. The rub forms a coat on the food and once grilled, becomes a tangy and crispy crust. We’re salivating just thinking about. Here’s our savory line of rubs from our herbs and spices store:

Ancho Honey Rub: Warm chili flavor balanced with the sweetness of honey, this blend is great on pork or chicken. Rub on your protein and let it sit overnight for full flavor or just sprinkle some on before you cook it.

Chimichurri Rub: An Argentinean spice, great on any meat; just add two parts olive oil, one part vinegar, one part water, and spices to make a Chimichurri sauce.

Horseradish Steak Rub: This complete dry rub will give any steak that horseradish bite you love. Simply rub on any meat, grill, and enjoy.

Korean Dry Rub: Gochujang powder captures the heat and spice of traditional Korean gochujang paste in a convenient, shelf-stable dry powder. Rub on pork, beef, or chicken for a truly one-of-a-kind grilling experience.

Mango Chipotle Rub: Bringing together the two wonderful flavors of mango and chipotle into one tasty rub, this can be added to fish, pork, chicken, or steak to make it sing with a medley of flavors.

Rib Rub: This tangy blend is a BBQ master’s best friend. Ideal for juicy pork chops, sizzling steak, fresh fish fillets and of course, ribs.

Santa Maria Rub: This style of rub originated in California and is perfect for a tri-tip or any cut of steak. It has a fantastic garlic finish, a pop of pepper, and is completely delicious.

In addition to our rubs, Old Town Spice Shop is happy to spice up another springtime tasteful tradition: picnics. Who doesn’t love a heavenly picnic spread? Especially when your spread includes one of our homemade mustards. Our selection of mustards from our line of Brewhouse Sauces goes great on top of any sandwich, hot dog, or bratwurst.

Auntie Stone’s Mustard: Crafted using Guinness Extra Stout, spread this tasty mustard on a bratwurst, add to deviled eggs or enjoy on a sandwich. By the way, did you know that Elizabeth “Auntie” Stone (1801-1895) is considered the founding mother of Fort Collins? Which is why we named this trailblazing mustard after Auntie Stone herself.

Redstone Creek Harissa Mustard: Crafted using Zwei Brewing Rauch Export Lager, you can spread this mustard on a brat, sandwich or anything else that could use a little tasty zing.

Sleeping Giant Spicy Mustard: This recipe is crafted using Grimm Brothers Brewhouse Dunkel Lager, Fearless Youth. If you like spicy and you like mustard, then you’re definitely going to love our Sleeping Giant Spicy Mustard. Layer it over your next hot dog and prepare to be impressed.

These are just a few ideas for tastefully spicing up your springtime grilling with the help of your favorite local and online spice store, Old Town Spice Shop. We’re here to make sure that you’re getting all the flavor that you can whether you’re grilling, frying, sauteing or cooking. We love it all. Come in and chat with our grilling experts to learn more about spicing up your grilling!   

 

Old Town Spice Shop Holiday Gift Guide

Can you feel it? It’s almost palpable. The holidays are just around the corner! It’s a magical time of year, but we also know that there’s a lot to do to make sure you’re ready for everything that this season entails. However, when it comes to making your holidays tasty, you can leave that to Old Town Spice Shop in Fort Collins, CO, your friendly and local herbs and spices store. If you plan on making a Holiday feast of epic proportions or delicious holiday sweet treats, let us help!

Our spices are much fresher than those found in the grocery store or from most places online. We do our best to purchase spices in their whole form and grind them in our local warehouse so that you get the most out of your spices and so that your recipes taste amazing. Our local spice shop is here to make your Holidays less stressful and more enjoyable.

Here are a few of our Holiday items that you’ll want to make sure you have on your Christmas list or might be the perfect gift idea for the foodie in your life. Check it out:

Cocoa The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without our tasty, warm Old Town Spice Shop hot cocoa. Did you know that our cocoa is single origin cocoa from Ecuador and processed through one vendor to ensure the highest quality standards are being met? We add milk, sugar, and other mouth-water flavors to create cocoa masterpieces like chai spices cocoa, Mexican hot cocoa, and salted caramel cocoa to name a few. Make the perfect warm beverage to keep out the chill this Holiday season and get you in the yuletide mood. Check out our cocoa selection in our online spice store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SugarsIf you have sugar plum fairies dancing in your head this holiday season make sure to check out our selection of gourmet sugars and take your cooking and baking to the next level! We carry over a dozen essential cane sugars that are infused with flavors such as raspberry, maple, vanilla bean, strawberry, and tons of others. These sweet treats are perfect for adding a little flare to baked goods, cocktails, coffee, or even your morning oatmeal. We also offer savory infusions, such as sweet onion sugar, which make great glazes on grilled meat. Our chili sugars make fantastic additions to any chocolate dessert, such as brownies or ice cream. Order your sugars in our online spice shop or come into our local spice shop in Fort Collins, CO – they make the perfect stocking stuffers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gift BoxesOur spices, blends, teas, extracts, sugars, and salts make the perfect gift this Holiday Season. We’ve put together some great combinations to suit any palate and cooking ability. These gift baskets make the perfect gift for that person in your life who seems to have everything!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gift Bags – Or if you’re looking for a delicious idea for a gift exchange or house party gift, consider one of our gift bags. Priced around $10 these are perfect as a small gift for the food and spice lover in your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopped Up CoffeeHappen to have a beer-lover or coffee-lover on your Christmas list? We’ve got you covered. Peruse our unique line of Hopped Up Coffee, coffee infused with hops, malted barley, and spices to mimic different beer styles. Fresh roast coffee with hints of the malted barley? Yes please.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beer JellyJelly + Beer = Bliss. Try our delicious beer jelly made with local craft beers! Delicious served with a variety of meats and cheeses or used as a glaze for roasting pork or chicken. For a really special treat, try our Hard Cider Jelly. Crafted using Summit Hard Cider & Perry Company’s Campfire Hard Cider, this jelly is perfect for adding to toast or using in savory cooking for a lovely glaze. You can also spread it on cheese and pair with crackers for a tasty treat to accompany your beer. A terrific gift for any beer lover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brewhouse SaucesSauces, mustards, marinades, BBQ’s, and oils….oh my! Check out our line of awesome Brewhouse Sauces made with local craft beers and you’ll be whipping up tasty treats in no time. They’re also fantastic gift ideas for the foodie on your Holiday list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BlendsOne of the most fun things about spices is blending them together to make new and delicious flavor combinations. The possibilities are endless, especially during the Holiday Season. At Old Town Spice Shop we offer everything from popcorn seasonings and dip mixes, to curries and other international blends to bring flavors from around the world to your table. There are numerous exclusive blends that you will only find in Old Town Spice Shop, so come on down and peruse today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SaltsLet’s add some flavor to this Holiday Season, shall we? At Old Town Spice Shop we carry more than 15 different natural salts with various flake sizes and flavors, making them perfect to add a beautiful finish and texture to any dish. We also carry more than 25 salts that have been infused with different flavors. We have the right salt to add a unique flavor to almost any dish, whether you’re looking for smokey applewood, fiery ghost pepper, or earthy spanish rosemary. We’ve got your Holiday cooking covered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it, our tastiest and most holiday-tacular gift ideas. If you’re out and about shopping, make sure to swing by our local spice shop to make sure you’ve got everything on your list. Or if you’re not in the area, check out our online spice store to stock up on Holiday gifts and items for your pantry year-round.