Throngs of customers swooped on the Canberra Centre today to be the first buy in the new ‘lifestyle’ precinct of what is now dubbed the ‘Monaro Precinct’ but others know as the ‘old Canberra Centre’. The new section contains some of the food and homewares shops that Canberra has lacked until now. I have been waiting with baited breath for the opening of my all time favourite food store, the spice shop by the name of Gewurzhaus.
If you’ve been with me on the blog for a long time, you’ll know that I have pedantically shopped at Gewurzhaus for my dried herb and spice needs for a very long time. I fell in love with the business when they opened what was their second store, on Lygon Street in Carlton. When I moved to Canberra I used to traipse my empty spice jars across the country to refill them in Melbourne. A few years ago, they opened a store in Sydney, which meant my jars didn’t need to traipse so far. But oh, how I’ve wanted them to come to Canberra!
It was a crazy night for the retailers trying to be ready for opening this morning. It sounds like something out of a dreadful reality TV show. They were there till 5am making sure they’d be ready for the big day. My oh my, doesn’t the store look as wonderful as all there others! Big clear circular bins of heady spices, herbs, salts, teas and blends thereof line the walls. Though I still won’t be able to refill all of my ground Mexican chilli powders, I can refull my jar of ground chipotle, which is very exciting. This is one of many improvements on the Sydney store.
They are decked out with their usual panache of Christmas joy. I was offered a cup of delicious Advent Christmas Tea, a beautiful burgundy blend of seasonal fruits. It evokes the classic flavours of a German Christmas, but with an Australian twist. Along with hibiscus, currants, elderberries and raisins, it contains pineapple, apple, coconut and papaya. This brew would be just as wonderful as iced tea as it was hot. Lucky for me, it’s caffeine free too, which means I am more than happy to continue indulging.
While there are beautiful homewares and quality gifts on offer, I tried my best to curb my spending, knowing I no longer need to stock up between visits. I did pick up a few lovely treats in the first of my Christmas shopping, and maybe added a few just for me. While the stores have stocked beautiful enamelware and copper items for years, I adore the more recent addition of a collection of Japanese ceramics including plates, bowls and sake sets.
If you venture all the way to the back of the store you can awe at the most excuisite ‘smell me’ shelf lined with myriad herbs and spices in the signature brown glass jars, waiting for you to open and inhale the heady aroma of Aleppo peppers, Grains of Paradise, or amchoor. I was able to buy a few new jars of spices, and saw some which I’m sure are new to their collection.
‘Smell me’ shelves
I tend to blend my own herbs and spices, but all of their blends are exquisite. Accordingly, I have succumbed and keep two in regular rotation in my pantry. The ‘Italian herbs’ are truly divine and get a surprising workout in my kitchen, even though it wasn’t I who first wanted them there. They also have a wonderful Berbere blend, which I have come to rely on heavily for my expanding repertoire of Ethiopian dishes. To celebrate the occassion of the new store opening, I will soon post my recipe for Ethiopian lamb tibs, a popular dish that is impressively easy to make at home if you are armed with a good Berbere blend.
Canberrans, cooks, I commend it to you, the brand spanking new, and unsurprisingly, but relievingly wonderful Gewurzhaus.
Monday: 9:00am – 5:30pm
Tuesday: 9:00am – 5:30pm
Wednesday: 9:00am – 5:30pm
Thursday: 9:00am – 5:30pm
Friday: 9:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday: 10:00am – 4:00pm