I'm placing an order with world spice merchants, so far I have fenugreek leaf, grains of paradise, ras el hanout, quatre epices and panch phoron. Any other spices or blends food52ers can't live without I should add to my order?
If they've got better prices than your local stores for saffron and star anise, I'd pick 'em up.
Also, while we're at it, I think a lot of foodpicklers (myself included) would swear by Penzey's as a go-to for spice needs. I guess it comes down to how you feel about the products and prices at the other place.
Don't know them, but I stock up on a few things at (http://www.savoryspiceshop.com/) when I'm in Denver. Aleppo pepper is really quite delicious. Nice flavour, not too hot. Good pimenton (de la Vera) is a must. I also am quite partial to tellicherry black pepper. Nice big grains and fantastic flavour (mind you, I went through a few pepper mills before I explained my issue to the nice folks at William Grimes and they sent me one that seems to have been specially adjusted for extra large grains!). If you can get Greek sage, it's really quite wonderful, try seasoning your next turkey with it. Have to admit I'm not much of a blend person...
I get most of my spices from Penzey's, but they don't have everything I wanted. I'm headed to Penzey's today before I order, so potentially will adjust my order.
I love their Biscayne Citrus Rub--it's easy and delicious for fish. I can't live without ground chipotle. Garam Masala there is good, if you don't make it yourself. The Smokin' Hot Garlic Pepper is delicious on popcorn (among other things). Their Kala Jeera (black cumin seeds) are good there, very fresh. I use them with turmeric on potatoes.
I'd also suggest you pick something interesting and buy it for fun. I always do that when I go down to their store in the market; that's how I discovered the Biscayne Citrus Rub. You never know what you'll discover.
Vietnamese cinnamon. Piri Piri. I ordered dried black lemons just because they are so ODD - have been using them in the tagine ...
Saffron absolutely. Can't have enough of that. Ras al hanout is a great thing to have on hand, but keep this in mind, how fast are you going to use dried spices? They lose much of their zest in just a few months.
Great suggestions everyone. I like to date my spices, and chuck the ground ones after 6 months, and whole ones after a year or so.
If you don't already have it, piment d'espelette. I know Penzey's doesn't carry that. I love that and Aleppo pepper.
Their urfa biber is excellent and hard to find elsewhere. Their mace is the best I've found anywhere. Their smoked alderwood sea salt is also lovely. Have fun! (I love ordering and shopping for spices.) ;o)
A friend was just visiting from Greece and she shared some wonderful holiday yeast bread that was flavored with mahlepi, which is granules made from the ground inner pits of a particular type of cherry. Very aromatic, unusual and delicious. Would be good in cakes, perhaps shortcake biscuits or recipes that call for almond extract.
After reading all these, I'm thinking I need to place another order!
Whole vanilla bean pods if the price is good!
sumac. definitely- lovely lemony flavour.whole coriander seeds always handy.
zahtar- a lovely spice mixture- egyptian i think.
I always feel like Penseys is overpriced. Many times I go to international groceries and pick up twice as much spice for half the price. I also look for places that have a high turn over rate and the Penzey store here never seems to have customers. I also try to buy as few spices as possible and then if a spice is a blend, like za'atar, quatre espices, then often I blend small amounts of it myself
I'm going with Hirschfield on this as well, not that Penzey's is not a fine resource. But there are many things they just don't carry. Like, say, fennel pollen. So I also travel in that demi-monde of global style markets and international intrigue. But you have to know your stuff, because quantity doesn't necessarily mean quality. Go back to the "Thai Saffron" discussion a few weeks ago. Where I live you can buy all kinds of dried chile peppers at ridiculously low prices in SUPERMARKETS---you can't do that in Maine or Massachusetts. The trade off though, is that it's really hard to find good international markets or say, a Persian or Armenian specialty store in my town. Fortunately I'm the Passenger and I ride, and I ride...