Experience Sarasota: The Spice and Tea Exchange
If there’s one store on Armand’s Circle that can guarantee to heighten your senses, it’s The Spice and Tea Exchange. Visually, it’s a treat. With carefully arranged glass jars replete with teas, salts and colorful spices lining the walls you can’t help but assume you’ve entered a bygone era.
Aurally? Listen to those that work there (including owner, Paulette Callender) explain the minutiae of the tea and spices on offer – and that should satisfy your taste desires, too.
And finally, the touch? Simply walk out holding a bundle of tasty treats that will fill your home with unique aromas.
Yes, the Exchange has life’s simple pleasures covered.
”This is a fun store,” said Callender. “We interact with our customers – I think that’s important.”
With a range of humorous and exotically-named spices, salts and, of course teas (Mystic Dragon Tea, anyone?), Callender welcomes both the intrigued and the casual customer.
“We have chefs come to visit us and they’re like a kid in a candy store,” said Callender. “Our local Italian chefs are mad about our Truffle Salt. It’s fun to talk to everyone.”
Not surprising, really. According to Callender, The Spice and Tea Exchange is a pleasant sojourn any day of the week because “We interact with our customers who can smell all our spices and know and see what everything is about before they buy anything – that’s important to us.”
A part of the St. Armand’s scene since 2009, Callender is justifiably proud of her store’s stock
“My colleagues are constantly working to make this business the best it can be - we invite everyone to open the jars in the store and smell what’s inside. It’s very interactive and educational - people may think you have to be a chef to use the spices we have here. But no - you don’t have to be a gourmet chef. A little bit of olive oil and some of our spices and you have a wonderful meal.
“We help,” continued Callender. “And we offer small things in bags and people can try it and come back – if they don’t like it, then they can try again.
“The Exchange has no typical customer,” Callender concluded. “But there’s a magic in this store that I hope everyone will come and experience.”
The Spice and Tea Exchange
345 St. Armand's Circle