While touring with vocalist Claudia Hommel, we stayed with an administrator of Chesapeake College which had hired us to perform. In this woman’s kitchen, I chuckled because racks of condiments proudly bearing “The Spice House” label were to be seen. On another occasion, I was performing in Holland and my Amsterdam hostess begged me to bring her some items from The Spice House in Evanston. Apparently, fans of cooking and eating everywhere appreciate this Midwestern family-owned purveyor of spices and other culinary taste-enhancers.
Started in 1957 by Bill and Ruth Penzey in Milwaukee, The Spice House was purchased by their eldest daughter and son-in-law Tom and Patty Erd in 1992. The second generation couple opened a shop in Evanston, IL in 1997 and a Chicago Old Town location in 2001. There are now five brick and mortar locations in Illinois and Wisconsin.
Not only do I buy the single spice selections, but I especially appreciate the salt-free mixtures with names such as Sunny Spain, Sunny Paris, Sunny Singapore and Florida Seasoned Pepper. I also keep dried onion, garlic and tomato on hand when I don’t have time to chop fresh vegetables for eggs, soups or casseroles.
If you need orange flower water, vanilla, candied ginger or maple sugar, you will find these items and more. The Spice House sells nutmeg graters, salt cellars, pepper mills, books and spice racks. The company also periodically sponsors events related to spices and cooking.
You need not be a resident of Chicago, Geneva or Milwaukee to enjoy these seasonings for your recipes. The Spice House does a booming mail order business to anywhere in the world. The Ethnic Chicago Neighborhoods Spice Blends Gift boxes are particularly unique gift ideas for friends, family or colleagues.
Chicago location: 1512 N. Wells Street, Chicago, IL 60610 – (312) 274-0378
Evanston location: 1941 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201 – (847) 328-3711