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Jean Marie Thiecelin is the 6th generation proprietor of his family's Paris spice shop. He is decidedly crazy for saffron, and passionate about sea salt from around the world, sings the praises of peppercorns from Pondicherry, and will welcome you to step up to his "Sniff Bar".

A word of advice: Don't come here with blocked sinuses. You need to lean your head into the jars opened by Monsieur Thiecelin and become intoxicated by the power of spice. Along with a deliciously perfumed selection of traditional spices, he has created his own blends. "Poivre des Dames" is a mix of pepper and Iranian rose petals.

Come with an agenda. You know those two signature dishes of yours, that you've been cooking forever? Maybe Monsieur Thiecelin could suggest a spice that might be added to invigorate an old standard.

Take your time and allow the ever gracious, English speaking Jean Marie, direct you to the finest oils, vanilla from Madagascar, star anise, cloves and nutmeg. His desire to dazzle the senses with the quality of his goods, is evident. He always succeeds by sending away his customers with a parcel of spice and other fine products from far away lands.

Who shops here besides mere mortals, like you and me? How about some of the most revered chefs in Paris. Like who, you ask? Alain Ducasse, Joel Robuchon, Guy Martin, Pierre Gagnaire and Helene Darroze, just to name a few. Yes, the guys and gals with Michelin Stars come here for the rare, pungent saffron from Iran.

It takes 150,000 saffron crocuses to produce a single kilo of pure saffron spice. Each flower has just three red stigmas, the part of the flower that yields all the flavor and aroma. These stigmas must be hand-picked and dried the same day. The picking and usage of the whole stigma, is becoming a rare practice and saffron of this quality, harvested the painstakingly traditional way, is difficult to find.

Downstairs, there is a state of the art kitchen, where cooking classes are held.

You might be leaving the shop with a heady blend of spices called, "Aphrodite", a mix of dried roses, saffron and ginger.

Goumanyat & Sons
3 rue Charles Francois Dupuis
3rd Arrondissement
Metro: Republique

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