Local shoppers are able to add a little spice to their lives, thanks to a relatively new store in town.
Located in Encinitas, The Spice Way opened in April 2015. It is the first North American franchise for the concept.
Owner Debbie Kornberg recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of her shop with a special occasion that featured a cooking demonstration, herb and spice education, tastings and samples, kids’ activities and more.
“It was an amazing accomplishment,” Kornberg said about the store’s one-year milestone. “It was really just a celebration of everything we’ve been doing this year.”
Stocked wall-to-wall with healthy herbs and scented spices, The Spice Way also carries flavorful fruit infusions, balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil and more, along with cookbooks, kitchenware and free recipes throughout the store.
With more than 250 herbs and spices, the store offers a variety of special blends for meat, poultry and fish, as well as ethnic blends using Asian and Mediterranean spices. Gift baskets and specialty gift wrapping are also available.
“There’s a little bit of something for everyone,” Kornberg said.
When Kornberg launched the shop last year, she wanted to show people that using herbs and spices not only enhance health and well-being, but it can be simple and fun. Therefore, she opened the store with the intention of offering cooking classes and other community events.
A number of chefs have held cooking classes at The Spice Way over the past year. Customers have participated in Americana, Mediterranean and Moroccan cooking classes, chocolate and pastry classes, and vodka infusion classes partnered with a nonprofit — to name a few.
Growing in popularity, classes are usually limited to about a dozen people due to space.
“People really do enjoy the cooking classes,” Kornberg said.
The Spice Way has also hosted a series of free Sunday events focused on herb and spice education. Kornberg has led classes where participants have learned how to make — and been able to taste — various teas and honeys.
“People like coming in and learning and experiencing and tasting,” she said.
“If we have a special event happening here, and you come by and check us out, you’re going to learn something unique about whatever it is we’re showcasing, come away with a few recipes, as well as have some fun and samples — because we always have samples in the store.”
In the past year, The Spice Way has also given a substantial amount of in-kind donations and sponsorships to local schools and organizations. From donating a complimentary cooking class, gift baskets and space for nonprofit events, to sponsoring a variety of special events, Kornberg said it’s important for her company to give back to the community.
“We’re here to service our community and show that we care,” said Kornberg, who has given to 12 different schools and organizations over the past year, including Jewish Family Service of San Diego, Laughing Pony Rescue, Partnerships With Industry, San Dieguito Academy and "A Growing Passion," a gardening show with Nan Sterman on KPBS, among others.
“I’m a community-oriented person,” added Kornberg a Carmel Valley resident, who noted that she worked in nonprofits for 20 years prior to starting her store. “I’m used to being on the other side. Amazing work goes on, and that’s what makes our world a better place. I want to be a part of that.”
The staff at The Spice Way enjoy educating customers, offering helpful tips on how to use herbs and spices. They will even build new special blends for customers.
Kornberg also demonstrates how fresh tahini is made from sesame seeds, using a mechanized grinder.
“I love interacting with the customers and helping people,” Kornberg said. “We are all about customer service. As a boutique store, we really want to be able to differentiate each customer and make sure that we’re meeting their needs.”
Always looking to meet the needs of her customers, Kornberg plans to offers a members-only spice club and also develop menus for customers. Additionally, The Spice Way will soon launch a beauty department and organic skincare line.
“You take care of your body on the inside and out,” Kornberg said.
The Spice Way's next event is Monday, June 6, in collaboration with the Leichtag Foundation and The Center for Jewish Culture. "Ashkenazi Cooking Class" starts at 7 p.m. and costs $15.
For more about the class or to register, visit http://gefilteria.com/sandiego.
The Spice Way is located at 260-B North El Camino Real in Encinitas.
For more about The Spice Way, call 760-634-9709 or visit thespiceway.com/sd. A 10 percent off in-store coupon is available on the site. Also find The Spice Way-San Diego on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thespicewaysd.
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