small bites

Spice and Tea Exchange

By Vanessa Caceres / Photography By Jenny Acheson | July 05, 2016
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If you haven’t used one of the seafood-specific spice blends from the Spice and Tea Exchange in St. Armands Circle, you’re missing out.

The store welcomes you with a fragrant, colorful, and vast mix of spices and teas—but there are more than a dozen mixes especially geared toward fish and seafood. Naturally, they’re big hits in our beach-oriented area.

“What makes them all special is we custom blend everything right in the store,” says store owner Paulette Calendar. “So, for example, for the grilled fish blend, we actually grind the lemongrass while we custom-make that blend.”

No matter what your taste buds like, you’ll probably find a spice blend that will fit right on your next fresh Florida grouper, shrimp, or other delicacy from the sea. Here’s just a sampling of what the Spice and Tea Exchange will add to the flavor party:

Coastal Blend: Big with fans of dill, this garlic- and dill-heavy mix is great on scallops, says salesperson Jolie Mullin.

Grilled Fish Blend: This versatile mix includes black pepper, paprika, smoked sea salt, lemongrass, and dill.

Northwest Salmon Rub: The gourmet smoked salts and spices in this one taste great on—you guessed it—salmon.

Low Country Boil: This Carolina-style mix includes cardamom, lemon zest, and several other spices.

Mariner’s Chowder: Green and red bell peppers as well as olive salt make this an ideal addition for seafood-based soups.

If your taste buds are looking for more temptation, there’s also the Cajun Blend, Crab and Shrimp Boil, Spicy Tuna Rub, and more. In fact, you may find other non-fish blends from Spice and Tea Exchange that somehow work for you.

“It’s always funny to hear what customers use the mixes for,” Mullin says.

The most popular seafood blends are the Northwest Salmon Rub and Coastal Blend, Mullin says.

Yet another option available at Spice and Tea Exchange that works well on fish is its Florida Sunshine, a mix of lemon zest, sea salt, green peppercorn, ginger, lemon zest, lime zest, and even rose petals. It can be labor intensive to prepare.

“We purchase oranges, lemons, and limes, peel them, and dehydrate them in the store. We then turn them into a zest before we actually make the custom blend,” Calendar says.

Yet there’s a real payoff, as the mix is the store’s most popular salt, says Mullin. In addition to fish, Florida Sunshine is also used on chicken, steak, salads, seafood salads, and as a snack topping.

The Spice and Tea Exchange also sells gift packages with several spice blends centered around the same theme. In the fish realm, there’s the Awesome Angler package with the Seafood Blackening Rub, Chesapeake Bay Rub, and Crab and Shrimp Boil. There’s also the Fisherman’s Sampler with Mariner's Chowder, Low Country Boil, and Seafood Blackening Rub.

spiceandtea.com/sarasotata

Article from Edible Sarasota at http://ediblesarasota.ediblecommunities.com/eat/spice-and-tea-exchange
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