As I've posted before, I love to pop into unique little, locally owned shops throughout Lehigh Valley. Even if I'm "just looking" I tend to find things I just have to have.

Last December I read an article in the Eastern Pennsylvania Business Journal featuring the Cottage Spice Co. on West Allen Street in Allentown. It wasn't until this past Tuesday that I actually visited this specialty shop. My first thought upon entering? Why haven't I been here sooner!

Their web site proclaims to be "your culinary connection to the 'freshest' dried herbs and spices in Lehigh Valley." It's actually a foodie's playground offering all sorts of gourmet items.

I enjoyed a nice long chat with Kathy, the owner, before combing the aisles. Let's just say if there is a spice in your recipe you can't find, Kathy will have it, and she's had it less than 90 days (I couldn't bring myself to tell her how long I've had the smoked paprika in my cabinet at home).

There were soooooo many items I wanted but I only picked up two on this trip. I had to get the colorful wooden spoon pictured above to add to my collection and the turkey & poultry brining salt which I can't wait to try. I limited my purchase to around $14 (total) because I wanted to pay in cash. At those prices, I didn't want Kathy to have to pay credit card commission.

I'll definitely be back for just about everything...except teas. I've already told Kathy that I buy all my teas from Christine's Secret Garden in Easton but that's ok with her. She appreciates my loyalty to another "unique little, locally owned shop."

What's your favorite Lehigh Valley gourmet shop?