Allspicery opens as the first shop of its kind in Sacramento
In fact, it’s Heather Wong’s travels around the world with her husband that have inspired the spices she cooks with and sells in her shop, which opened on April 1, 2016, just eight months after her daughter was born. At 34-years-old and a new mom, the extensive list of countries she has visited is impressive, though she feels there’s so much more to see. She’s excited to share flavors that are harder to find and to showcase a wide range of blends, spices and herbs, chiles, roots, salts and peppers, and sugars.
According to Wong, who has a degree in business and previously worked in sales in the renewable energy field, this new adventure to open a spice shop “chose her.” On a whim, she submitted her idea to the Downtown Sacramento Foundation’s Third Annual Calling All Dreamers competition, which collects votes from the public for a new downtown storefront. She competed against 35 others and won, supporting her conclusion that this is, indeed, a need!
“I threw in the idea because I like to experiment with cooking,” says Wong. “My husband and I have been inspired by a lot of our travels and try to recreate things at home and have had a really hard time finding certain ingredients.”
With a prime location near the Capitol on 11th Street (between L and K streets), Allspicery is definitely attracting visitors who are walking by and curious to know what’s inside. They are surprised to learn how some of the spices can be used. Wong has found that adding the Everything Bagel blend into mashed potatoes, black lime into soups and cinnamon sticks into chili can enrich traditional dishes. For the thrill seekers, it’s Scorpion Pepper Death Salt in omelets. Dukkah, an Egyptian nut blend, has been a popular spice among customers who use it as a dipping sauce or brushed over flatbread…yum. Some visitors have found it interesting that cinchona bark can make tonic water.
What staple spices should every cook have on hand? Wong recommends the Aglio Olio E Peperoncino (a classic Italian spice blend), harissa (a blend inspired by the traditional Tunisian chile paste), Ethiopian Berbere, alderwood smoked sea salt and roasted garlic granules, to name a few. Many customers go straight to the “sweet” section, where cocoa nibs, habanero sugar, strawberry sugar and several types of cinnamons are favorite choices.
“People are excited and relieved to not have to go out of their way to get fresh spices anymore,” says Wong, who recommends using spices within six months. “Sacramento is fast becoming one of the best food towns in the country and we are thrilled to help take our city to that next level.”