Our sweet, complex Grenada Gold Mace comes from the hills of Grenada, famous for growing some of the best nutmeg and mace in the world. Mace is the lacy aril wrapped around the nutmeg, between the fruit and the shell. It adds an enticing aroma to baked goods, stews and rice dishes and is beloved in cuisines around the world. Grind or crumble a small piece into the cooking pot to infuse in liquid. It's perfect for cream sauces, mac & cheese, ice creams and fresh vegetable stews. It's also a classic ingredient in many North African dishes, so if you've been looking for an excuse to break out that tagine pot, this is it!
If nutmeg is a warm hug, mace is a gentle kiss on the cheek. If nutmeg is a double bass, mace is a violin. It's one of those magical ingredients that makes people wonder, "What's that extra something in this dish?"
- Crumble into baked goods, ice cream and jams
- Add a small piece into the cooking pot with rice, veggies, beans and stews to infuse in liquid
- Put a few pieces in your steaming tray to add an unforgettable aroma to steamed veggies and dumplings
Mace is the lacy aril wrapped around the nutmeg, between the shell and the outer fruit. Mace has been one of the world's most highly prized spices for thousands of years. Each tree produces only a tiny quantity of mace blades compared to its partner spice nutmeg. The mace has to be harvested quickly and very carefully to keep its lacy structure intact.
Wars have literally been fought over it, and the reason we speak English in New York City has a lot to do with the 1668 peace treaty between the British and the Dutch, which traded the nutmeg-and-mace-producing islands of the Moluccas for the island of Manhattan.
For most of history, nutmeg and mace only grew on a group of small islands in the south Pacific. That meant anyone living anywhere else (which was pretty much everyone) was only able to taste it years after harvesting, after it had traveled thousands of miles by dugout canoe and dhow, caravan and caravel.
These days, Grenadian nutmeg is pretty hard to get your hands on. For the past 150 years, this 100,000-person island nation produced around a quarter of the whole world's nutmeg supply - nutmeg is so closely intertwined with Grenadian history and culture that it is even represented on the national flag.
In 2004, Hurricane Ivan devastated Grenada, destroying almost all the island's nutmeg trees and completely collapsing the industry. Since then, many enterprising farmers have replanted their trees, but annual yields are still less than 10% of what they were before the hurricane.
The Ramdhanny family farm is one of the very few farms to still have a handful of old-growth trees that survived the hurricane, and they've also planted hundreds of new saplings in their agroforestry nutmeg and cacao farm.
Meet the Farmer: Bobbie is the latest in four generations of the Ramdhanny family to farm this land. In the photo above, you can see Bobbie explaining the finer points of nutmeg sorting, cracking, floating and drying
When the pandemic shut down Grenada last year, Bobbie wound up back on the family farm. She orchestrated probably the first-ever direct export of nutmeg from Grenada (to you-know-which-single-origin-spice-company), cleverly using her farm's organic status to bypass the required government consolidator.
The current system was implemented in the 1960s to standardize pricing and support small farms, but as global demand has grown, it seems long overdue for an update.
Bobbie is part of a group of enterprising young farmers working to preserve the integrity of their own incredible nutmeg and mace and who have started to export their own crops.
They're a movement, not only taking over their families' farms but also emphasizing organic and regenerative agricultural techniques to produce some of the best nutmeg and mace in the world.