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Jan 28, 2010 07:07 AM

Best of Christina's Spices

I am putting together a wedding gift and want to add some local flavor. I am getting the couple some cooking equipment and also want to pick up some things from Christina's. Any suggestions for Christina's products that are either New England/Boston oriented or just plain awesome? The couple is not very culinarily adventurous, so I'd rather stick with more recognizable stuff rather than delicious but hard to find (and intimidating). Thanks in advance.

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  1. Well, if they're just starting out I would just go with the basics; black pepper; white pepper; oregano; basil; all spice; nutmeg and some nice chili powders, maybe some ground ginger. Christina's also has some very nice loose teas.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pegmeister

      I actually don't like Christina's black pepper so much: it's pungent enough that it's very very easy to use too much. I've actually ruined dishes with it, and I *like* black pepper!

      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

        I wonder if it is something like this?

        I ordered those ecuadoran peppercorns once. I personally really enjoyed them, but they made everything I used them in quite pepper-y and spicy. That's fine for me, but not for other folks eating my stuff :)

    2. They have some really nice sea salts and pink peppercorns are always appreciated!

      1 Reply
      1. re: TomH

        Yes, I got some pink salt, and smoked black salt there that I like.

      2. Picked up some vietnamese cinnamon at Christina's that is wonderfully pungent. I'd highly recommend it along with Pegmeister's suggestions above.

        2 Replies
        1. re: allgimbel

          I've never had Christina's Vietnamese cinnamon, but the Vietnamese cinnamon I have had (from Penzey's) is life-altering. Once I got it, I went on a cinnamon baking binge (snickerdoodles, coffee cake, rugelach, repeat...). Anyone who hasn't tried Vietnamese cinnamon should (if they like cinnamon)--once you have it, the regular stuff smells like dust.

        2. Are they young and starting out or older and sort of locked into how they cook? I'd stick with the basics, as pegmeister said.. things like smoked salts are GREAT, but they are more of a culinary luxury.... I'd rather get someone a good grinder and some solid black peppercorns than some high-end curry powder that will sit idle. Penzeys in Arlington sells boxed starter sets that are nice..

          1. I love their ancho chile powder - so fragrant and great in Chili, seasoning meats and potatoes, other veg, stews. Really good. I also get a small vial of saffron when I go in, pretty good quality. Recently picked up white pepper, ginger, mustard, ancho chile powder, saffron, nutmeg, onion powder, ground cumin, cumin seed - all very good. You can't go wrong with too much in Cristina's.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Small Plates

              SP, do you remember about how much the saffron goes for? I just used up my stash but don't want to remortgage the house to buy some.