Do away with ready-made spice mixes with questionable expiry dates. Cooking with more obscure spices has necessitated the rise of specialty spice shops, and admittedly, our homemade curries, rubs, and other seasonings are all the better for it. Whether you’re looking for za’atar, wasabi powder, espelette peppers, or just the basics like high-quality cloves and cinnamon, and everything in between, here’s where to shop for spices across the nation.
Silk Road Spice Merchant – Calgary and Edmonton
Silk Road Spice Merchant is heaven on earth for spice lovers. With two locations in Calgary, and one in Edmonton, It offers everything from standalone spices to custom spice blends. Kick your steak up a notch with its take on Montreal Steak spice and St. Laurent Steak spice, named after the street that is home to the famous Schwartz’s.
Épices de Cru – Montreal
Located in Jean-Talon Market in Montreal’s Little Italy, Épices de Cru is a family-owned-and-operated business run by husband and wife team Philippe and Ethné de Vienne, and their children, Marika and Arik. For decades, the family has travelled the globe to learn about spices and bring their findings back to Montreal. At Épices de Cru, you can find pretty much anything from tea to various types of coriander and cumin you didn’t even know existed.
South China Seas – Vancouver
It’s no surprise that Vancouver is a hub for spices, being only an ocean away from Asia. Not only does South China Seas offer a selection of herbs, spices, spice blends, chiles, and salts, it also imports specialty foods like dried mushrooms, truffles, and condiments unique to specific cuisines. Its classes are a great way to learn more about the different cuisine and spices of regions all over the world.
Mexican House of Spice – Victoria
If you’re looking for specialty foods from Mexico and other parts of Central and South America, Mexican House of Spice is a one-stop shop for all of your needs. Not only does the store stock basically every form of pepper under the sun, it also carries all of the makings for homemade tortillas and tamales. Throw your Old El Paso taco kit out the window because you’re never going to need it again.
The Spice Trader – Toronto
The Spice Trader mixes their spices and blends by hand, only working in small batches to ensure the utmost freshness. In fact, if you’re not happy with your spice purchases, you can return them and the staff there will help you find exactly what you’re looking for. From long pepper to cubeb pepper, ajwain seed to annatto seed, it’s got you covered and then some.
House of Spice – Toronto
Situated right in the heart of Kensington Market, House of Spice has been around since 1971, and has been specializing in the sale of exotic spices ever since. Ordering the right quantities and its fast turnaround time means that you’ll always get the freshest spices possible. The store carries a variety of spice collections, from the Forever Young, with allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and more; to the Curry Lovers, with cumin, coriander, garam masala, and others.
Cardamom and Cloves – Ottawa
Given that Ottawa is the capital of a nation as multicultural as Canada, it should come as no surprise that it’s a great place to go on a spice hunt. It doesn’t have to be a hunt even, because Cardamom and Cloves has such an amazing selection of worldly herbs and spices that you likely won’t have to look elsewhere. Stock up on berbere for all of your Ethiopian cooking adventures, or gumbo filé if you want to delve into authentic Cajun or Creole cuisine.