It's not every day a store clerk encourages you to drop your sample on the floor once you've finished testing it.
It makes sense, though, at Rice Village's Savory Spice Shop where 99 percent of the wares are in powdered form. The store has been open since August, but had its grand opening this past weekend.
And "grand" is certainly a fitting descriptor for anything having to do with the shop, whose voluminous spices, oils, marinades, seasonings, etc. are meticulously ordered and artfully arranged in a space reminiscent of a French Victorian apothecary.
To say there is a lot of different types of spices to be found on (or in) this earth is my understatement of the afternoon. Savory Spice Shop manages to organize them via broad categories such as "Curry" (remember, that was the colonial Brits' lazy catchall terms for hundreds of different Asian spices), "Baking Spices," "Exotics," "Sugars," etc.
In addition to vending multiple varieties of standard spices from different national origins (Hungarian Paprika, Spanish Saffron, Vietnamese Cinnamon, Peruvian Ginger), the shop also has a terrific array of spice blends ( that can be used for dips, dry rubs, sauces, or even sprinkled on popcorn. Notable picks include the delectably pugenent dill and soothing lavender vanilla sugar. Those who want their spice, well, spicy might try the ghost pepper salt.
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What is perhaps most fun about Savory Spice Shop is that its flexible pricing and portion policy enable you to take home many different samples before committing a lot of money and space in your pantry to a particular seasoning. Although most spices are presented in medium-size bottles and larger jars, almost any powder can be purchased by the ounce, which (except in the case of ultra-expensive exotic stuff), translates into $2-3 for a bag that is more than enough for one or two recipe trials.
As Houston transitions from grilling season to the holiday season, Savory Spice Shop is going to be a wonderful place to acquire unique presents for the special intrepid foodie or amateur in your life. Oh wait, that's you! Well, then, gift yourself early with some high-quality sugars, salts, and cocoas for your baking or cooking project and be ready to rule the office potluck at Christmas.