OCEAN CITY – Sugar and spice makes everything nice, but The Spice and Tea Exchange of Ocean City will teach you how to use them.
With more than 65 spice blends and 35 teas, the store is teaching customers how to use its products through a series of “Cooking Creation” classes, according to Marketing Coordinator Brenda Pfautsch.
“Everybody that comes is going to experience how to utilize our products and how to incorporate them for the everyday cook,” she said. “We sell a lot of stuff that gourmets love, but what we want to do is show people how you can just use these products on an everyday basis.”
Since opening in May of 2015, the store has hosted classes with chefs from local restaurants. But in the coming year, Pfautsch said the Exchange will only host one chef, Jill Denton, in an effort to keep classes consistent.
“She is very knowledgeable about all our spices and herbs,” Pfautsch said. “She loves working with them, and she wants to impart that knowledge to other people. She is really good at her demonstrations, and I think that people will find her very enjoyable and would learn a lot from her.”
Denton, who owns the catering company Delivery Dinners of Delaware, will host a demonstration once a month from January to April and will offer different menus each time. The dates are Jan. 16, Feb. 13, March 13 and April 10.
The cooking series is broken into four classes: Brunch Musts, Meat Musts, Down on the Docks and Farm-to-Table Feast. Pfautsch said participants can attend one or all four of the events.
She said those that attend will have the opportunity to view the demonstrations, taste the food, drink tasty beverages and take home recipes and discounts.
“I think it is unique because they can come in and use our products and then use their skills to create their masterpiece or creation,” she said.
Pfautsch said it isn’t hard for customers to be overwhelmed by the scents and sights of the store’s inventory, and the creation courses will teach participants how to apply their spices and blends to food.
“We call this place a sensory experience because there are so many different things,” she said. “You walk in and say, ‘Where am I? I’ve never smelt anything like this.’”
Displayed on shelves throughout the store are glass jars and plastic bags filled with oregano, cinnamon sticks, tea blends, culinary flowers and the like, and Pfautsch said customers are encouraged to open the containers and smell.
“That is the only way you are going to know what it even tastes like,” she said. “Everything is hand-blended, and that is where we utilize all of our spices, herbs, salts and peppers. We also bring in seasonal teas so there is always something new, and we are always looking for new products.”
Many of the blends, she said, are used to cook steaks, chicken, seafood, pasta and curry. The more popular Tuscany blend can also be added to olive oil, bread and sauces.
“You name it, we probably have something out there,” she said.
Pfautsch suggests people reserve their seats before the series is full. For more information, or to reserve a seat for a class or series, call 443-664-5822.
The Ocean City location, owned by Joy Quinn-Whalen, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
“I think that more restaurants are starting to do these types of things, but there really isn’t a whole lot in the Ocean City area,” she said. “It’s giving people practical advice on really how to use our products to make new and interesting foods.”