Nutmeg and Mace are actually part of the same fruit. Botanically speaking, they even have the same name. However, not all fruits are created equally, and certainly not all naturally created ones. As we solely focus on natural spices, we know where the problems stem from, and the tricks most companies use to profit the most from these problems (Hint: sell the bad ones in powdered form!)
Nutmeg, historically native only to a small cluster of small volcanic islands in Indonesia, is now cultivated around the world with varying success. Nutmeg grows with an outer layer of Mace, and as such the two have a similar flavour profile, albeit different uses due to their different physical properties. Our Mace is sourced from it’s native home in Indonesia – where it grows to taste best. On the contrary, we’ve found that Mace coming from the Southern tip of India, Kerela, often tastes and looks better than the Indonesian counterpart. Here the Nutmeg seed can grow to what we refer to as ‘Extra Large’ size in the market.
One other factor most people need to pay attention to when examining and taste testing Nutmeg is that it is a very weak hallucinogen; caution and moderation should be exercised when handling larger quantities of the spice.
Nutmeg is processed by first removing the Mace, then drying over a slow charcoal fire for several weeks. In addition, it is also often sundried. Once thoroughly dried, they rattle in the shell. This indicates that the nutmeg can be safely removed. It is then cracked with a mallet. The nutmegs are then graded and sold at a range of prices to suit different markets. Regency’s First Selection Grade is the best available in the trade today. In contrast Mace is sold based on colour and size of flowers. Deep red flowers are as fresh as they get, however they are highly sensitive to weather conditions and can swiftly evolve into an Orange shade without much warning. Some pieces of Mace are also Black or White. These taste weaker, but are almost impossible to weed out. Being a natural product, black or white segments are present everywhere. However, too much black and white is never a good sign, as it is an indication of the spice going stale, or otherwise weak in flavour. What many traders tend to do is group up heavily black and white pieces and then powder them. Here, their true form is masked inside the mixture.
Some close up shots
If buying from us, please note that our ingredients are 100% natural and processed using traditional methods. As a result there may be some visible imperfections. Our spices will have variations in size and colour due to factors such as the amount of sunlight they received when growing, or the amount of rainfall in a particular season. These differences in appearance are entirely normal, and are the result of not treating them with any chemicals.