Penzeys Spice Shop
Multiple locations (Arvada, Boulder, Cherry Creek, Littleton, 2 in Colorado Springs)
Penzeys wrote the book about big-time retailing of bulk spices. Starting as a single store in Wisconsin, this family-owned branched out into mail order and later online sales, but now has some 30 retail locations nationally. The old country store look draws cooks and foodies like a magnet draws iron filings. Six of the Penzeys retail stores are on Colorado’s Front Range. With all the growth and popularity of spices, Penzeys remains true to its roots and still grinds, blends, packs and ships its huge line of spices and blends.
Multiple locations (Aurora, Colorado Springs, Commerce City, Thornton and Westminster)
This small, California-based supermercado chain has everything, including spices, required for making authentic Mexican dishes. Large selections of popular brands of Mexican seasonings are displayed in and around the produce department. Little cellophane packets hold fresh and ground spices, dried herbs and seasoning blend. The produce department itself carries fresh herbs year-round as well as numerous kinds of dried and fresh pepper, occupying every rung on the Scoville scale from mild to wildly hot. Technically, peppers fall in neither herb nor spice but vegetables in the genus capsicum, but numerous varieties are used season food.
Savory Spice Shop
Multiple locations (Boulder, 2 in Denver, Littleton, Colorado Springs)
Much like Penzeys retail locations, Savory Spice Shops all are decorated in a warm country style with open shelves filled with aromatic herbs, spices, blends and rubs, all ground weekly in small batches. It is also possible to buy very small quantities, ideal if you just need a pinch or a sprinkle of this or that and store staff are eager to assist spice novices. Mike and Janet Johnston, avid home cooks and bakers, opened the first Savory Spice Shop in Denver in 2004. Janet enjoyed some national recognition with “Spice & Easy,” a six-episode TV series demonstrating the creative use of spices to perk up popular recipes.
World Food Bazaar
242 Havana St., Unit # C
Aurora, CO 80010
This sizable grocery market in one of metro Denver’s most vibrant international market carries a dazzling variety of foods from the Indian subcontinent and Africa. Canned goods, halal meats, produce, housewares, apparel and more fill this neatly organized store. When ambitious cooks who are less familiar with exotic ingredients come in with enticing Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian recipes or Dalda ka Dastarkhwan, the go-to book for Pakistani recipes in English, the patient folks at the World Food Bazaar will find the right spices, which go by different names in different languages. Imported spices and herbs under the Laziza, Shan and Swad labels impart authenticity to those country’s fabulous foods.
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