I find it really hard to buy spices from online store. Without seeing the spice, most times I prefer buying whole rather than ground ones, I am unable to decide which to buy. So, I was incredibly happy to discover Penzeys store in my neighbourhood. The store was amazing, large and airy. Had spices from all over the world. Moreover, they had displayed them very well. You could actually open each one of those from the tasters’ bottles they had and smell or even taste them if you like before making a decision.
I am currently undergoing complete restocking of my pantry items. I do that once a year in Spring (this year I did not make it until Summer was almost over due to other commitments). This is a reason why I was out hunting for spices. This is also why I have not posted on my blogs in last 10 days. This too is going to be a short entry.
I would recommend you to check out Penzeys Spices if you live in USA and happen to have a store nearby. I would also recommend you to visit a local spicery shop if you happen to be in San Francisco / Bay Area. It is a neat little store from where I got some really unique spices. The owner there is a spice aficionado and seem to know about a variety of spices.
The only problem with these two stores (they also have online presence) is that they sell spices bottled up in small / medium sizes. If you happen to use some of the spices a lot more regularly, it could get expensive to buy from there. My solution for purchasing spices in bulk is to visit ethnic grocery stores – these frequently have spices you can buy at reasonable prices in bulk. Ultimately, of course, one could also resort to buying things in bulk at the country of origin and then hand carrying it across the US customs. I have regularly done that for Indian spices, which I buy in bulk in Delhi or Mumbai and repack them and bring them back with me or get friends to carry it back for me.