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Spice & Tea Exchange Offers Everything Nice, Except its Secrets

A new spice shop opening this weekend in West Village stocks sugars, salts and 150 types of spices, but a company spokesman says most customers come for their blends.

The top 10 sellers at The Spice & Tea Exchange, which has 14 locations nationwide, include "Tuscany Blend," "Signature Blend" and a peppery concoction called "Pirate's Bite."

Since mixing herbs and spices seems like an especially low-risk culinary endeavor -- there's nothing to burn or butcher incorrectly, and starting over's a relative cinch -- I asked warehouse manager Aaron Hanson why pre-made blends and rubs were so popular.

"We've worked hard on them," he says. "People probably could do it themselves if they could get the recipe."

But the Florida-based shop's not selling its secrets, although Tuscany Blend (bestseller No. 1) and Pete's Crazy Chicken Blend (bestseller No. 9) will be available for sampling at the West Village location's grand opening party Saturday.

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The Dallas outlet is the second Spice & Tea Exchange in Texas, and Hanson says its inventory will likely evolve according to customer preferences. He was busy this morning shipping a batch of Szechuan peppers to a store elsewhere that had placed a special order for them.

"They all start out with the basic stuff," he says.

The Spice & Tea Exchange 3699 McKinney Ave, Ste. 104-B 214-528-7900

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