This Christmas, I vacationed with my family in Florida. One of the side trips from Orlando that was really a site to see was Sarasota. A memorable store that I visited in St. Armands Circle was The Spice and Tea Exchange. It had a fabulous array of spices and homemade mixtures that were quite unique. One of the spices I purchased was this wonderful Pinot Noir Sea Salt. It has such a fantastic aroma- I have already used it on some roasted potatoes. I even got to put a pin on their map behind the cashier of places where people are visiting from. Needless to say, I was the first from Alameda to do so! I also didn't realize that this is a national store and they have one right here in San Francisco.
This also reminded me of my absolute favorite spice shop in Seattle, Washington called World Spice Merchants. If you are ever in the Seattle area and are a foodie, this is a must-see. It doesn't seem like much from the outside and it is sort of tucked away near the water, however, I am forever grateful we ran into this place. Inside there is an array of fantastic spices from all over the world neatly laid out in clear jars. We purchased white pepper and it is hands-down the best white pepper I have ever had. I know this seems ridiculous to get so excited over pepper, however, if you have the opportunity to smell this pepper you will feel exactly the same way I do. So, we came home and used this pepper on a variety of dishes, and then, sadly, we ran out of it. Their website is very easy to navigate as far as ordering is concerned. What I found most impressive at the time, is that ordering spices with them was on the honors system and you would just pay them by check after receiving your order. They have since changed this to a credit card system, but I will still go through them to get my wonderful spices. It is so worth it!