Christopher Columbus first encountered an intriguing and aromatic spice later known as "allspice" on the island of Jamaica during his second voyage to the New World. It is not, as some people believe, a mixture of spices. Rather, it is the dried fruit of the pimenta dioica, a tree native to the West Indies and tropical Central America. The fruit is picked when it is green and unripe, and traditionally dried in the sun. When dry, the fruits are brown and resemble large brown peppercorns. Allspice is the only important spice that still comes almost exclusively from its region of origin – which also makes it the only one grown almost exclusively in the New World.
This fragrant spice has a pleasantly warm aroma. The name, coined in the 1620's by the English, reflects the complex and rich taste resembling a peppery mixture of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Most of the flavor is in the shell, rather than the seeds it contains. Allspice is typically found whole or ground and is used around the world – for everything from preserving and seasoning meats to enhancing the flavors of fruits and desserts. Allspice combines well with chile, clove, coriander, garlic, mustard, and pepper – as well as fruit and fall vegetables.
Allspice represents everything fun and fascinating about the world of spices: history, complexity, versatility, and great taste. Allspice appeals to all cultures and cuisines.
Which brings us to our store, AllSpice Culinarium. This little history lesson provides a bit of insight about how our store landed the first part our "allspice" name. To us, Allspice is all about what we set out to: explore, learn, share, experience, and enjoy the great flavors of the world. The second part of our name, "culinarium"? Culinary + Emporium + Culinarium. Clever, isn't it? But way too formal. Just call us allspice for short.
We've thoroughly enjoyed the allspice experience – and we hope you do, too!*