Schuhbeck’s Spice Emporium near Hofbräuhaus in Munich

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This post was originally published on March 18, 2015 and updated on October 1, 2019.

Last week I was perusing the book I’ve posted about earlier, 111 Things in Munich that You Shouldn’t Miss. It contains lesser-known but, I think, more interesting sights to see around the city. I chose a place I’d seen before but never actually visited, the Schuhbeck spice shop. It’s located just across the small plaza from the famous Hofbräuhaus.
The place is amazing! First of all, the aromas that assail you as you walk through the door are wonderful! There is a table with bins of salt from all over the world in the first room. Most intriguing to me was the blue salt from Persia and the black salt from India. You can scoop your own into little, pre-labelled bags for bulk buying, or you can choose one of the many jars and jar sets on the shelves lining the walls. There are salt mixes and salt grinders as well.
There isn’t only salt here; there are hundreds of spices and spice mixes in the three ground-floor rooms. The floorplan isn’t geometrically regular and the rooms aren’t square, adding to the charm. A lovely chandelier hangs in the atrium – you can see it in the above photo.
In the next room are more sets, aprons, cookbooks and the cashier desk. In the room beyond are more tables with bins of spices like ground chilis; black, red and white pepper; caraway seeds; the works. It’s the German spice room, with many blends for Lebkuchen, German roast chicken rub or fried potato seasoning.
A quick jaunt up the stairs to the second level and you are surrounded by more jars and jar sets, a smaller salt table and a few more bins of bulk spices.
However, the best rooms by far, in my opinion, are the ones on the third level. The place is decorated to resemble a Moroccan spice bazaar:

The table in the middle has bulk bins of candied ginger and pineapple slices, ground Thai chilis, whole pistachios, barbecue rub, Jamaican jerk spice blend, pecans and the like. The bins along the back wall have things such as Chinese five-spice powder and something called “Sex Spice Blend” and “Erotic Spices”. The “alleyway” on the right is actually tromp l’oeil painting, not an alley at all. There are more bins along the wall on the other side of the “alley”.

Yes, that’s a real gong. The first time I visited, a man was standing there waiting on his wife to finish shopping. He casually reached out and knocked on the gong; a very loud sound reverberated through the building! He was a little embarrassed, but I tried it, too, and discovered how easy it was to sound the thing. It sounds much heavier than it is and takes very little to ring it.

You can pick up free recipe cards and sheets in the spice shop as well. I will definitely try the recipe you see on the top card below for Christmas chocolate mousse. It has Lebkuchen spices in it. I don’t think I’ll wait til Christmas, either.

The shop is named after Alfons Schuhbeck, a very famous Bavarian celebrity chef. He has his own TV show. There aren’t so many celebrity chefs here as in the States, so this is saying something.

As you might surmise, his passion is spices. He’s made his spice cookbooks and products the basis of his very large empire. I counted about 12 cookbooks by him in the spice shop. In fact, they have been translated into other languages. I received one of his cookbooks in English for my birthday in 2013 and used it for some of the research for my own book.

Interestingly, the English translations for the recipes in the book throw me, because I know the food by the German name. Sometimes the English names mean nothing to me.

Outside on the plaza, you can see part of Schuhbeck’s huge enterprise. There is a tea shop next to the spice shop. It has the added benefit of a chocolate shop on the second level.

And his famous Orlando cafe around the corner in the same building.

Across from the tea shop is his famous Sudtiroler restaurant.

Also, while we were having our Starbucks on the far side of the plaza, I noticed a sign next to the passageway pointing to Schuhbeck’s cooking school.

It’s very difficult not to buy baskets and baskets of spices when you visit the spice shop. I managed to come home with only a few because, if I bought everything I wanted, I couldn’t possibly use all of them. But I DO want one of the aprons and now know where to go for gifts for certain cook-friends of mine (you know who you are!).

I hope you enjoyed the virtual trip to the pseudo-Marrakesh spice bazaar. I know I will be going back often; it’s in the same neighborhood as Marienplatz, and its famous Glockenspiel, and Dallmayr, the famous gourmet supermarket. Plus these are all on the same subway line as my apartment. Wow!

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