There is now a Spice & Tea Exchange in Blowing Rock, NC There is now a Spice & Tea Exchange in Blowing Rock, NC

Last time I was in North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountain town of Blowing Rock, I had one of those “Sunday Best” excursions on Main Street. It was the kind of shopping trip that lit a fire in the oven as surely as it ignited my chef’s imagination. When I came home that day I baked cookies, and roasted chicken and fish; I could not wait to make these simple recipes because I had found exotic seasonings to spice them up: YUMM!! BUURRP!! It is your fault, Spice & Tea Exchange (TSTE)!

I was drawn in by their motto, “if you can’t find it here, it probably doesn’t exist!”  Care to challenge that, Sunday Best Cooks?? I was drawn in by their motto, “if you can’t find it here, it probably doesn’t exist!”  Care to challenge that, Sunday Best Cooks??

I have to hand it to Andy and Gayle, pictured above: it is the perfect time of year to open a tea and spice shop. All the Fall enthusiasts—and I know I have got more than a few Fall fanatics on THE NANA NETWORK—are out there looking to revel in cinnamon, apple and pumpkin-y aromas. I know that I am looking forward to posting some new dessert recipes that call for TSTE’s salted caramel sugar.

But you know me….

I could not stop at sweet, so I had to go for savory, too.  While at TSTE I picked up some Chardonnay Oak Smoked Salt, which I LOVE using to dress up my Sunday Best recipe for a beautiful Sunday Roast Chicken. Of course, I am not alone in my love of “Sunday Best” excursions. My future daughter-in-law, Colleen came to TSTE too, and was excited to use the store’s Peppermint Patty Sugar to rim martini glasses for her signature Chocolate Martinis.

Colleen’s chocolate martini is a 1:1:1:1 ratio of Starbucks liquor, Kahlua, vanilla vodka and half and half Colleen’s chocolate martini is a 1:1:1:1 ratio of Starbucks liquor, Kahlua, vanilla vodka and half and half

Here is the recipe! We jotted it down ; )

So try and find your nearest tea and spice shop! TSTE used to be “Old Florida Spice Traders” until it expanded into what it is today. If you like the look of an old trading post that has chests of drawers, steamer trunks and big glass apothecary jars spilling over with over 170 spices and probably as many (or more?!) teas, then you will love it as much as I did!