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Jul 11, 2009 03:43 PM

Spices/Ingredients for Cooking

Does anyone know of a good place in or around Boston to buy good quality spices and seasonings for cooking, like sea salt for example? Thank you.

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  1. Two very nice spice shops with everything you might need:

    Christina's in Inman Sq, Cambridge
    Penzey's in Arlington

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruprecht

      Indeed! You can get just about any spice or herb you need at those stores. Here is the URL for what can be found at Penzey's

      If for some reason you can't make it to the store (Mass. Ave in Arlington, near Park), you can order online.

      Also, Formaggio's on Huron Avenue in Cambridge is a good bet for any very unusual items that for some reason are not available at Penzey's or Christina's.

    2. Much more T-accessible, the Harvest Food Coop in Central Square had rather good spices in bulk for very reasonable money.

      Quality-wise I would rank Penzey's first, and then Christina's and the food coop tied for second.

      5 Replies
      1. re: StriperGuy

        The 77 bus leaves Harvard Square every 12-15 minutes, runs straight up Mass Ave and stops about 10 yards from Penzey's front door.

        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          Take you an extra 45 minutes to get there then it would to get to central square.

          1. re: StriperGuy

            More like 20, with the payoff of better spices for less money and a sidetrip to Lakota for cookies.

            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

              I just tried it on the T's own trip planner at and just the piece from Harvard to Penzey's takes 30 according to their calculations and that does not count the extra time on the Red Line or waiting for the bus connection at Harvard Station.

              I absolutely LOVE Penzey's but that place is a bit of a haul even by car.

              From downtown Boston by T it will take you at least and hour, probably more whereas Central Square is 20 minutes.

              1. re: StriperGuy

                You can also order online from Penzey's instead of making the trip to Arlington.

      2. sea salt is commonly available pretty much anyplace, even a shaw's. chinatown markets have great prices on spices too.

        4 Replies
        1. re: hotoynoodle

          Along those lines, Indian markets have large selections of spices. The packages tend to be larger than found in western-style stores and the prices tend to be lower. Having said that, the emphasis is on spices; herbs used in European and North American cooking would be less likely to be found there.

          1. re: PinchOfSalt

            I get most of my spices at Araks, Mt. Auburn street, when I pick up wonderful hummus and persian melons too. the spices are cheap, fresh, and while they don't have everything, the selection is good. Sea salt anywhere (trader joes, russos, etc.)

            1. re: teezeetoo

              I like Arax too, especially if you are shopping for Middle Eastern ingredients. The prepared foods are very good and the older guy often at the checkout counter is very friendly. I suspect he is the owner. Having said that, when I go to Arax I usually visit Massis and Sevan too. They each have their high points, and what the heck, you are there already. FWIW, Massis has a pretty decent spice and herb selection too. I love their spinach-and-cheese boreks!

              Apropos taking the T, the number 71 bus, which runs very frequently, stops nearby. It's about 15-20 minutes from Harvard Square.

            2. re: PinchOfSalt

              there also is polcari's in the north end, although it can be pricey.

          2. i like both penzy's and christina's but christina's has more options for international cuisine

            1. Angkor Watt market and Angkor Thom market on Shirley Ave., Revere for Cambodian and other Southeast Asian goods.....I also like Penzey's up on Mass. Ave., and while you're there it's just a little further to Wilson Farm.