By Larry Sheingold –

Can you tell fresh-ground coffee from instant? A supermarket tomato from one perfectly ripened in your garden?

Then you will notice instantly that spices from Whole Spice in Petaluma are unlike anything you are likely to get in a store.

Who knew toasted ground cumin could taste and smell like this. Or the spicy curry powder. Or the Vietnamese Cinnamon chips.

Those are just a few of the delights that arrived in my first internet order. Now that I have sampled these, I am about to dump all my old spices and start over with Whole Spice’s.

If you want to give them a try, here’s what you need to know.

First, they have a huge selection from common household staples to wildly exotic. Go to Many of the items – like pure vanilla bean powder, harissa spice mix, Murray River pink flake sea salt or crushed vadouvan – come with ordering instructions, descriptions, recipes and ingredients in the case of their carefully-crafted blends.

It’s hard to imagine a spice you might want that they don’t have.

They have “ground-to-order” service so you know your spices are as fresh and aromatic as possible. And there is no minimum order so you can experiment with a little of this and that.

Ronit and Shuli Madmone are the owners. Shuli was raised in a family of paprika growers and spice merchants in Israel. He and Ronit, an Israeli of Moroccan heritage, started out in the northern California farmers market scene.  They now have their warehouse and mail order business in Petaluma and a shop in Napa and supply spices to restaurants around the Bay Area.

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