The herb and spice merchant

I met a girl in a spice store the other day and she was from New York. At one point she even lived on Thompson and Spring, like me. She probably patted my dog! (Everyone did.)

So of course we got chatting about how much we loved it and how much we missed it and yet how Melbourne had become a kind of panacea for all that homesickness.

“I think Melbourne has all the good bits of New York,” the girl announced, and I surprised myself by agreeing.

“The amazing food, and restaurants hidden down secret laneways,” I said.

“The awesome live music scene,” she said. “And I walk everywhere here, just like I did in New York.”

“Oh yeah!” I said, “And it’s mostly flat like New York.”

And on we went. And on and on and on. And so I discovered that I really did love this city, and that perhaps I had found somewhere to call “home” at last, something I’d yearned for, ever since I left New York.

“Melbourne is really similar to New York except that it’s– it’s–” the girl said, and she flailed in the air with her hands to find a way to finish her sentence.

“Less concentrated?” I prompted, and she said, “Exactly!” I had found a kindred spirit.

The girl managed the best smelling store I had ever come across, anywhere. You know in the cartoons when a character smells something really good and follows the delectable aroma, nose in the air, for several blocks before finally discovering the source? That was me, following my nose through the door of this store.

Inside were more than 200 different hand-ground, hand-mixed herbs, spices, and blends, and it was nose heaven. Without intending to spend a cent, I left after 20 minutes with $70 worth of tea, spices, cupcake wrappers and paper straws in my bag, alongside a booklet outlining cooking classes that I totally plan to take.

I was half way to the post office before I managed to give myself a shake and think, “What just happened?”

The name of the store is completely unpronounceable: say “Gewurzhaus Herb & Spice Merchants” three times quickly if you dare. But it is a happy place.

Melbourne peeps: do you want to join me for cooking classes? I’m dead keen on the yum cha and ‘From Persia with love’ classes, but open to the others too. They all look great. Send me an email if you’re up for it.


  • Tracey from Central Coast Seachange

    Kindred spirits pop up when we least expect them. I do love your photos. Gorgeous

  • Tracey Hughes

    Another wonderful story and photos – maybe I should move back to Melb. Would definately do the ‘From Persia with love’ with you if I did. Girl with yellow apron is not unlike Kara?

  • Gill

    Have you read “The Mistress of Spices” by Chitra Divakaruni? It was a book suggested to me by a girl I met in a, wait for it…a Spice Shop in Margaret River! I tracked the book down and loved it. It is the story of an Indian lady who opens a spice shop in America…A magical book.

    And I would so do one of those coking classes…if only I lived a little closer.

  • NewLifeOnTheRoad (@NewLifeOnRoad)

    Oh I so love Melbourne! I went there three times last year (on business trips and personal trips). The place is amazing for food, fashion, culture and so much more. Love that walked in and walked out buying things because of the smells! That sounds so nice….wish we were closer to say yes to the cooking classes!

    • Naomi Bulger

      Lisa, I think it’s about time you turned that van around and headed back down south…

  • Brandi

    All this store is missing is a little table in the corner that I could establish myself at and work all day. Such a pretty place! And I adore the card catalog being used for spices. The book nerd and foodie in me are both squealing with delight!

  • megan

    It was lovely to meet you Naomi! So nice to meet a fellow Melbournite via NYC! See you in the shop soon!

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