Quick Update: As of February 2015, Cardamom & Cloves is now an online store! Same great selection and outstanding service. Visit their new shop here:
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the intoxicating fragrance of spices. I have also been perplexed sometimes as to why some seem to have such a bland aroma while others literally burst forth with their mouth-watering scents. Obviously, it’s all about quality and freshness, which is why I am jumping for joy now that Ottawa has its first shop devoted exclusively to top notch seasonings. Cardamom & Cloves opened its doors yesterday and a steady stream of eager shoppers on opening day was proof of the pent-up demand for both great products and expert advice.
Cardamom & Cloves is the latest project for accomplished foodie Jodi Samis. “Once I moved away from home and started to cook a lot more, I became quite interested in the important role that various seasonings can play in the kitchen. Travel has fuelled my interest as it has given me an opportunity to explore and enjoy the unique flavours of many different cuisines. I’ve sourced product from all around the globe to bring the tastes of the world to Ottawa.”
Sure to appeal to everyone from the novice cook to the professional chef, Cardamom & Cloves’ walls are lined with shelves holding scores of glass jars filled with dried spices ranging from the familiar to the exotic. For example, Lemon Peel, Smoked Paprika and Juniper Berries snuggle up near Wild-Harvested Cedar Leaf, Grains of Paradise (a truly heavenly pepper-like spice) and organic Star Anise. When fully stocked, Jodi expects to have about 200 varieties of spices, along with a healthy selection of fresh herbs. She’s also got some fun prepackaged local seasonings and beautiful handcrafted spice-friendly pottery items.
For Jodi, customer service means far more than just having a good selection of products. “I am excited to work with people to develop their own custom spice blends which I will keep on file for them. Imagine having your own signature rub! I also love sharing the history and various uses for different spices – once you know how to use an unfamiliar seasoning, it becomes so much more appealing.”
Many of Cardamom & Cloves’ products are in their ‘pure’ form, meaning whole dried Ancho chiles or coriander seeds, to name but two. Jodi explains that this is because spices are at their most flavourful when freshly-ground; she has gear on hand (various spice grinders and a large mortar and pestle) to provide this service for customers.
The biggest lesson that Jodi has learned since she dreamed up Cardamom & Cloves just over six months ago was that we live in an incredibly helpful city. “I cannot believe how generous people have been. There were all the great people who supported my Indiegogo fundraising campaign, others who helped spread the word, my amazing graphic and interior designers, a talented contractor, the friends who came and helped paint the shop – everyone has been phenomenal. I like to call this ‘the store that Ottawa came together to create’.”
Thrilled to be a part of the thriving, food-obsessed Little Italy community on Preston Street, Jodi encourages shoppers to return frequently, as Cardamom & Cloves is a work in progress. “Interest in the shop was building so rapidly that I just couldn’t wait until the store was absolutely finished, so I’ve opened now and will continue adding to the stock and expect everything to be completed over the coming months. Watch for special events including cooking demos once I get the store’s kitchen installed!”