In a nutshell: Our nutmeg comes from one of our favourite spice islands, Sr Lanka, and should be grated whole into béchamel sauces for comfort dishes like lasagna and cauliflower cheese.
The best nutmeg should be bought whole so you can grate it with a fine microplane grater as you cook recipes. The nutmeg kernels should also have an unbroken, shiny exterior, a mark of good quality. The finest nutmeg comes from Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Grenada in the Caribbean. Our nutmeg comes from one of our favourite spice islands, Sr Lanka, also home to the best cinnamon. Both nutmeg and mace come from the Myristica fragrans tree and are picked when its fruits split to reveal the red mace blades around the nutmeg kernels. The mace is then flattened before drying and the nutmeg is separately sun-dried for a couple of months until the kernels rattle inside its shiny outer skin. We sell the kernels inside this skin which helps to preserve their flavour - you simply break the skin off before using the nut. A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg improves most dishes, especially béchamel sauce for good-old cauliflower cheese and French-style fennel gratins, Italian lasagna and Greek pasticcio. We also add it to our shepherds and fish pies, rum punches and hot chocolate drinks. Try nutmeg also in root vegetable purees and with roasted parsnips, carrots or pumpkin.
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About Épices de Cru
Épices de Cru began in 1982 as a catering partnership between Philippe and Ethné de Vienne. Their mission was a kind of “cooking pot anthropology:” learning the secrets of family cooking around the world and applying these techniques to the needs of hungry Montrealers. The secret, they learned, was spices. Over the last two decades, Philippe and Ethné have searched for the world’s best spices, accompanied by their children, Marika and Arik. The de Viennes believe in direct sourcing spices: visiting growing regions, spending time with growers, and developing personal relationships that last decades. In 2004, they officially opened their first spice shop in Montreal’s fantastic Jean Talon market– it’s since become a mecca for foodies from all over the world. I first visited in 2008 and have been buying and using their spices on a regular basis ever since that first exciting visit. They steadfastly maintain that they do nothing original, only facilitating the exchange of culinary common sense from one place to another. But, what they do is simply quite brilliant - by providing us with the finest quality ingredients, and their superb spice mixes, we can all experiment with unusual spices and recreate delicious recipes from around the world.