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Best Spice Brands?

So I've had my Dean & Deluca spice rack for a while now, and it's time to freshen up. Rather than shell out another $150 for the refills from D&D, I figured I could fill up the cute jars with different brands. Who does everyone think makes the best spices, either as a company overall or for specific ones? Spice Island is my #1 for cumin as well as chili powder, but I don't yet have faves for anything else.

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  1. I order online from Penzey's. Quality is excellent, and you can order small quantities.

    3 Replies
      1. re: missfunkysoul

        penzey's for me too most of the time, but i go my local indian asian shop for very good cardamom, garam masala, etc.,

        my sisters and i will often get a penzey's bulk order together which is extremely cost effective.

        1. re: missfunkysoul

          Penzey's for most. Ground ginger from Spice Islands.

        1. Penzey's, or if you don't feel like mail-ordering, most McCormick spices are good (but go for the glass jars rather than plastic when possible).

          1 Reply
          1. re: katydid13

            Penzey's are great, but if you are in New York, check out Kalustyan's on Lexington Ave, around 28-29th Sts. Don't know if they sell online, but they have great spices.

          2. We have an excellent local company called Savory Spice Shop. I prefer them to Penzey's. You can order online from them at http://www.savoryspiceshop.com/

            1. Penzey's is great, and they have a retail store in Norwalk...very convenient. Besides freshness, there are many varieties and blends to choose from. Salt-free is a biggie, since most grocery blends contain way too much salt. I would start listing all of the flavors I've tried, but it would be a long list. I even have three different kinds of cinnamon, since I bake all the time, and it's nice to try different strengths. My all time favorite and the one that finds its way into many gift bags...Sunny Paris. Give it a try.

              1. Count me in as another vote for Penzey's. Since I live in rural Vermont, I don't have a lot of options other than mail order. I ADORE Penzey's. I can count on them, and they always give me something new to try for free with my orders. :)

                1. Penzey's is OK, and depending on where you live they have stores as well as mail order. But definitely a local Indian grocer for many items (coriander, seed and ground, cumin, seed and ground, cardamon, black and green, & etc), also for certain things (orange peel, Chinese cinamon & etc) a local Chinese grocer. Also, around here some of the small "natural" stores co-operate with herb gowers for some of the dried herbs like sage, thyme & etc. I find these fresher than the bottles.

                  1. Penzey's! I often do group orders with friends so we can divide the larger bags & save $. Their catalogs have lots of good info too. I keep hoping a shop will open in my area, but until then I always check the store listings before I travel domestically so I don't miss a stocking up opportunity.

                    1. I am fortunate to live in the area where Penzey's started. I love going to the stores. Walking in I breathe in very deeply and just savor the moment. I look forward to the postcard in the mail that promises a free gift of one of their spices/herbs.