NYC’s 5 Best Spice Stores

September 10, 2014 6:00 AM

A pinch of this or a little of that takes a meal from ho-hum to oh yeah! At these spice stores, you can stock up on your cardamom, cloves, sea salt, and marjoram, or just get inspired by the multitude of flavors. By Jessica Allen.

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(credit: Garrett Ziegler)

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The grand-daddy, the big kahuna, the must-visit for every spice hound or lover of seasoning, Kalustyan’s is a huge, multi-floor emporium. Since 1944, this Murray Hill shop has sold flours, mustards, rice (including black rice and long grain), teas, dried beans, honey, and more, so very much more. In addition, you can get prepared foods like pickles, sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, jalebis, and baklava (pictured), as well as incense and cooking equipment.

If Kalustyan’s is about maximalism, offering its customers one of everything, then La Boîte is about minimalism, offering its customers a curated selection. The specially made blended spices, sold under the La Boîte á Epice brand, include Bombay (turmeric, clove, and fenugreek), Escabeche (saffron, lemon, coriander, and fennel), and Izak (cumin, sweet chilies, and garlic). The retail store is a little bit art gallery, a little bit showroom. You can also buy housemade biscuits.

Also known as SOS Chefs, Trufette caters to professional and amateur cooks alike, offering rows of beautifully displayed spices and goods. If you go, prepare to gawk and to spend. The olive oils, mushrooms, dried and fresh spices, pastes, poweders, truffles, honeys, salts, and peppers, among other specialty products, are imported from around the world. They don’t come cheap, but they are nestled in drawers and neatly organized on racks, a feast for the eyes as much as the nose.

(credit: Sullivan Street Tea & Spice Company)

(credit: Sullivan Street Tea & Spice Company)

It wasn’t until a visit to Sullivan Street Tea & Spice Company that we learned that catnip isn’t just for cats. Instead, this leaf (pictured) can be brewed and included in stews, sauces, and soups. While catnip makes cats crazy, it calms humans. At this spice store in the Village, you can increase your knowledge and stock up on teas and tea accessories (such as teapots, strainers, and infusers), spices, salts, herbs, and the perfect glass jar for storage or just decoration.

“Createurs de saveurs since 1933,” the family behind Spices and Tease got its start in Naples, Italy. From there the business spread to France and eventually made its way to New York. Both the Upper West Side and Grand Central locations offer hundreds of varieties to dazzle your senses, including approximately 30 different kinds of salt and pepper, more than 30 unique homemade spice blends, and over 100 teas.