Sunday, July 13, 2008

Even in Alaska, there are Gourmets

Yesterday we went to a great shop, Summit Spice and Tea Company. Anyone who thinks they will have a hard time finding exotic and/or unusal spices in the Anchorage area need only visit this shop to have all their fears laid to rest. They carry gourmet food items from around the world, as well as local items. Spices, condiments, regular and herbal teas, chocolate - they have it all!
Now, I like to cook. I like it a lot. As a result of this, I have a LOT of cookbooks. Several hundred of them are currently lurking in the kitchen, and in spite of my oft-repeated resolutions to lay off getting more, I just can't seem to stop. Just now I am focusing on international and American regional cookbooks. That along with subscriptions to Saveur and Gourmet and Bon Appetit means that more often than not I am looking for some non-mainstream ingredients. There were a couple of halfway decent sources for this type of thing back in PA, but mostly I had to order online or substitute for something "close enough", because eventually you simply have to get supper on the table. Even still, there are quite a few recipes I have wanted to try that I have just had to shelve, because I just couldn't get the ingredients and didn't want to try it with half measures. Well, walking in this store gave me hope for those poor abandoned recipes.
Just in the salt section alone they have everything from Mesquite salt to French sea salt to Hawaiian pink sea salt. Green, white, black and pink peppercorns and Szechuan peppercorns besides. Several different curry blends, different oreganos, cardamom in pods or decoricated or ground. The further I walked into the store the happier I got. Every spice I could imagine lined the wall, and incredible chocolates filled the islands in the center of the store. Tucked in here and there are foods from all over - a variety of British things, some hot sauces from the Caribbean. It was only by a serious act of will that I got out of the place without one of everything they have. However, I will be consulting the island of misfit recipes and I will be back. Oh yes, I will be back!
There is also a broad selection of teas - both herbal and regular tea. I didn't really focus on this area because I was overwhelmed by the other stuff, but I did notice enough to say that a tea lover would not find a trip to this store a waste of time.

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