Northern spices are an interesting and strange topic. Adding them to your recipes can make items worth a fortune or worthless. Personally I think the most interesting thing is its supply and demand and how its value has changed since its introduction.
All the northern spices are a reward for cooking daily in Northrend and I think Blizzard was very clever in making it. Imagine if the only thing you could buy with daily cooking tokens were recipes. What would happen is that the first weeks the expansion came out, all the cooks in Northrend would have happily earned all their recipes and cooked some dishes. But then what? Cooks would only have been able to make a handful of dishes with their daily rations of spices (the spice from the reward bag and the spice bought with cooking tokens after that). This measly amount of daily spice would have resulted in all good enhancement foods being so rare that most people wouldn’t have bothered to consume them. Suppose you are expected to pay 50g for a +40 haste rating upgrade.
The smart thing for Blizzard to do was introduce the chef’s hat with the accompanying achievement and meta-achievement title, as well as a good amount of gold and reputation with the Kirin Tor for doing this on a daily basis. All of these added benefits mean it’s not just chefs doing it. Boring people do it for gold. People who want a discount on Kirin Tor items do so because of its reputation. People looking for achievement points do so for some of the cooking achievements. But best of all, who doesn’t want an awesome new hat? All these non-cooks doing this every day means that there is usually a very healthy supply of Northren spices at the auction house for enterprising people to turn a profit on.
To put a price on spices, I took the first 10 recipes on my cooking list that consist of a raw ingredient and northern spices, then found out what value we added by cooking them.
Worg Leg – Blackened Worg Steak / 0.59 – 0.72 / +0.13G
Moonglow Cuttlefish – Cuttlefish / 0.17 – 6.38 / +6.21G
Dragonfin Angelfish – Angelfish Fillet / 3.64 – 3.77 / 0.13G
Rhino Meat – Hearty Rhino / 1.72 – 3.43 / +1.71G
Imperial Manta Ray – Manta Steak / 1.56 – 2.96 / +1.40G
Mammoth Chunk(2) – Mega Mammoth Food / 4.37 – 4.03 / – +0.34G
Rhino meat(2) – Mighty Rhino dogs / 3.43 – 3.72 / +0.29G
Bonescale Snapper(3) – Extreme Snapper / 1.69 – 1.77 / +0.08G
Chunk O’ Mammoth – Spiced Mammoth Treats / 2.18G – 3.60 / +1.42G
Worm Meat(2) – Spiced Worm Burger / 0.57 – 1.02 / +0.45G
As you can see, there is a wide range of reactions to adding northern spices to things. Since we’re all shrewd players making gold, we’re going to ignore all the recipes that lose value and focus on the ones that generate decent returns:
Cuttlefish Fillet = 6.21G
Abundant Rhino = 1.71G
Imperial Manta Steak = 1.40G
Spiced Mammoth Treats = 1.42G
This averages out the spices adding 2.68G to each recipe. Obviously these prices will vary from server to server, however the recipes that make profits and those that don’t should remain fairly constant.
So how do we make gold with this information? The simple answer is to simply put northern spices on your waiting list. It’s on my list for 35 silver, however I’m sure you can make a profit at 1G+ prices as long as you have a very busy server with lots of invaders and hobby food demand. Once your snatch list comes up with plenty of cheap spices, buy them and take a look at the raw materials needed to make the above recipes. There are all 4 recipes listed above, however that was just looking at 10 originally, I’m sure there are many more to be found if you sit for an hour and go through them all. Cook all your ingredients and put them back in AH. Benefit easily without having to leave your city!