Mace has nutmeg’s rich and warm aroma but the smell is stronger with hints of pepper and cloves. The taste of mace is warm and subtle with some lemony sweetness.


  • Culinary uses: Mace is commonly used in savoury dishes and to flavour milk-based sauces such as bechamel. It is often added sparingly to delicate soups and sauces for eggs, fish, and other seafood. It is widely used in processed meats, such as sausages and charcuterie. Mace and its oil are used in many processed foods where nutmeg is used, but being more costly it is usually used in more expensive foods. Whole mace can be easily ground using a coffee grinder.

Ground mace is more commonly available than whole pieces (called blades) but the latter are worth seeking out as these keep almost indefinitely when stored in an airtight container.

  • Botanical name: Myristica fragrans ▪ Family name: Myristacaceae
  • Native range: Banda Islands (part of the Indonesian archipelago)
  • Major producers: Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, West Indies
  • Harvesting: The ripe fruit of nutmeg trees is collected and the outer skin and white flesh removed to reveal the seed. The thin, leathery, lacy, bright scarlet aril (the mace) that surrounds the seed is removed, pressed flat, and dried for a few hours only. Mace from the West Indies is typically stored in the dark for about 4 months, during which time it turns a deep orange-yellow.

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