Spice shop owners invite sniffing — it fits to to a tea

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND –– Judy Kowalski and Jon Gabel brought the flavors of the world to Port Townsend last month when the couple opened the doors of the Spice & Tea Exchange at 929 Water St.

“Port Townsend seems to be a good place to attract locals who are into natural cooking, as well as tourists,” Kowalski said.

They invite people to come in take a deep breath, explaining that the best way to pick out a spice combination is to enter the store with a clear sense of smell.

“I would seriously encourage you to come in and smell things,” Kowalski said.

Jars of colorful and aromatic spices line the wooden shelves of the store, the latest franchise in the 28-store chain spun out of a single store in Florida.

Traders based at the Spice & Tea Exchange’s Florida headquarters roam the world to bring back peregrine spices for sale in stores.

Those spices are blended in the store by Port Angelinos Kowalski and Gabel, who mesh the myriad flavors of the spice jars into steak rubs, curries, bloody mary mixes and 70 other varieties.

“We get all kinds of fresh spices and teas from all over the place,” Kowalski said.

“Everything is super fresh.”

Kowalski said selling spices by the ounce allows cooks at home to buy small amounts that stay fresher than the larger quantities in standard plastic jars from the grocery aisles.

“My husband is noting that paprika is not supposed to be brown like the stuff his grandmother put on deviled eggs when he was a kid,” she said, adding they have six different varieties of paprika.

“I would seriously encourage you to come in and smell things,” Kowalksi said.

The Spice & Tea Exchange is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.

For more information, phone 360-385-1633.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 20. 2013 5:57PM
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