Photos by John Maggiotto
Need some quassia bark for your cocktail bitters? Mahlab for your pastries? No problem, now that Lindsay Fastiggi has opened Spice Revolution (34 Cedar St, Dobbs Ferry 914-374-6576; spice-revolution.com). Those three spices, and 297 others, including every relatively pedestrian one you can think of, are on her shelves, with 1,000 others available for special order. Some are US-certified organic, but most come directly from their country of origin where, Fastiggi notes, no chemicals are used in cultivation.
So how did a nice Italian-American Westchester-raised girl become a walking spice bazaar? “Growing up, we had a big, beautiful garden,” Fastiggi says. “There were always fresh herbs, and I loved sticking my hands in the dirt.” She went on to cook in restaurant kitchens, became intrigued by the interplay of sweet and savory, and found revelation in chocolate. “I was giving chocolate tours in Manhattan and learned that chocolate is a good way to introduce people to spices,” she says. “I knew a bit about blending my own spices, and I thought, ‘How can I expand on that?’” She’d find herself running around Manhattan, frustrated, searching for a specific ingredient. “I wanted to create a place where you didn’t have to go to the City.”
And so she has. At Spice Revolution, her nascent chocolate-and-spice fervor now boasts 40 bar varieties, all fair trade and mostly organic, many gluten-, soy-, and dairy-free. And we’re not just talking a sprinkling of sea salt. How about lemongrass? Or her number-one seller: the bacon bar (yup, with real applewood-smoked bacon bits).
And spices and chocolate are just the beginning. Spice Revolution carries oils and vinegars and tools like marble mortars and pestles and spice graters. There are recipes, workshops, and events posted online, and frequent chocolate tastings at nearby Harper’s restaurant. And on Saturdays in Hastings, Irvington, or Chappaqua, you can pick up your spices along with your peaches and mâche at the farmers market. “What we do goes along with fresh food,” says Fastiggi. “Fresh food, fresh spices…we’re the finishing touches.”
Yes, and lucky us: Now we have thousands of touches to choose from.