Spice and Baking shops, Cambridge MA

I love the Merula, haven’t had in a few years. I also just love the can as a work of art…

1 Like

yes, the only thing I dislike about the cheese counter is that there are always so many people waiting for cheese you can’t peruse the wonderful collection of grains, oils, spices, mustards, conserves that faces that cheese counter. The cheese is expensive but very well care for…every day they cut off the non-optimal parts…and there are cheese you can’t find anywhere else, and they offer tastes and really know their cheeses. I started going as soon as they open on Saturday or Sunday, when you can come as close as possible to having the place to yourself.


Yes, so glad to find the spice enthusiasts in our midst. Much to explore.

That collection of goods that faces the cheese counter at Formaggio is where I found the balsamic and the Merula. After wriggling my way past a horde of cheese buyers, that is!

Thanks Madrid for the heads up about these two places. I’ve been looking for heirloom wheat flours, so I’m eager to check out Elmendorf.

there is also a new place called One Mighty Mill in Lynn…I haven’t been yet.

1 Like

The urfa pepper I have from Curio is my very favorite pepper ever. Worth seeking out for sure.


thought I’d point out here that I needed whole allspice and sage a few weeks ago. (Y’know, the sage I bought LAST Thanksgiving was a year old.) Checked Porter Star for whole allspice, but all they had was a giant $5.99 thing of poor quality Bahia. On a whim, I went into Cambridge Naturals next door and found you could buy really high quality allspice berries in bulk there for cheap. They also had great sage leaf, and the bulk thing meant that I got to purchase my sage for thanksgiving for the awesome price of eighteen cents.

They have a good selection of all kinds of other herbs/spices/mushrooms in bulk as well as things I use occasionally like xanthan gum etc. It’s a great spot to check if you only need a little of something…


Yes, that’s true. I tend to overlook them, but I’ve used them myself successfully in the past.

1 Like

Thanks for this great tip @Madrid! Popped in today and it was amazing. Also very, very crowded with people buying gifts so I didn’t stay long, got a couple of things to try - dill pollen and Icelandic kelp sprinkle – and will be back after the holidays.


Elmendorf is indeed superb. Thanks, Madrid.

In a small space they have an amazing array of stuff. I confined myself to a jar of bitter apricot kernels, simply for the joy of finding them. See here for more on where I have used these kernels. There was a lot of other stuff I wanted to buy – the interesting grains, flours, and sugars, the obscure baking supplies … and I’ll be back to indulge a lot more.

so glad you liked it! I want to go back just to walk around, look, look at the cookbooks, ask questions, and buy something in addition to what my son called the best chocolate chip cookie he ever had.

We went back tonight. I was looking for raw peanuts to make the pickled peanut/pickled mustard seed salad recipe in Deep run roots by Vivian Howard (she has/had a cooking show on PBS, I never watched it but I love the cookbook). Neither Whole Foods nor Trader Joe’s nor Market Basket carry raw peanuts, only roasted ones, and they won’t work for this recipe. I called, they had them! They also have some products from Anson Mills, the heritage grain purveyor in SC, many other “unusual” products and cookbooks and baking tools, lots of other unroasted nuts so you can toast or not for specific recipes, some great popping corn they just got from Vermont. Really friendly and knowledgeable people, now serving soup and interesting sandwiches including a breakfast sandwich. The owners used to work at Formaggio Kitchen. Our son said chocolate chip cookie remains the best ever.

You beat me to a second visit. Yes, they’re great,

(Speaking of raw peanuts, Patel Bros in Waltham, had really raw, wet peanuts today, soft and wet in their shells – and some moldy, as a result.)

yeah, that’s the problem with shelled peanuts, they weren’t grown anywhere near here, they get even slightly damp in transit, and then there’s no stopping their mold growth. The shelled raw are also likely to spoil quickly, I put mine in the freezer along with my other raw nuts. Raw nuts can be hard to find, and that’s the reason. In the south closer to where peanuts are grown, boiled peanuts in the shell are common and delicious snacks.


The peppers at Curio keep getting better.

For my superbowel party – I know, like, zero about the game except that it involves getting a slightly deflated ellipsoid from one end of a field to another, while hefty guys shove each other all over the field (and, oh yes, there’s someone called a 25%back) – I made chili.

I got chunks of chuck from MF Dulock (so that my daughter who eats spicy Saucisson Sec Basque, but thinks she’s vegetarian, could avoid them), and a marrow bone cut in half, and a shitload of peppers (dried Guajillo, Hatch and Tabasco) from Curio, along with their splendid chili powder. Some dried+overnightsoaked pinto and kidney beans, a lot of garlic, a large onion, various forms of tomato, some pasilla and jalapeno peppers, and voila – excellent chili, really throbbing with Curio flavor.


That sounds SOOO GOOD! (The chili I mean, not your description of the game.)

Thank you, I guess. You should really take up cricket. Much finer sport. And a standard game lasts five days.

thanks for reminding me that when I need to replenish my collection of tried chiles to go back to Curio spice, not Christinas!

Thanks for the pointers! I made it to Curio a couple weeks ago and got some dried makrut lime leaves (for rempeyek kacang) since my usual source for fresh had, um, dried up. (Eventually found some fresh in V-Mart in Lowell, but that’s not exactly Cambridge :-). Had a nice chat with one of the staff about korarima, which I didn’t expect them to have but were happy to learn about. They’re thinking about offering a berbere blend so maybe they’ll get some other Ethiopian spices too. I liked the place and would likely visit often if I lived closer.

Got to Elmendorf yesterday and enjoyed coffee and a savory scone, then browsed the books and shopped; agreed on how nice the staff are. I love that they mill grains to order so I could get a reasonable quantity of rye for the Boston brown bread I’d been craving with a manageable amount of extra for other experiments. A friend who works nearby was really happy to find pretzel salt and Valrhona Dulcey feves there. I expect I’ll drop by from time to time; those chocolate chip cookies really did look good.


you must try the chocolate chip cookies. I’m not that fond of sweets myself, but my son has said several times now that they are the best he’s ever eaten. He gets them very freshly baked, of course. I need to go back soon to support them, I sure hope they make it. It’s a great local option.

1 Like