Nutmeg is the seed of a large tropical tree and mace is the lacy covering that surrounds the shell which houses the nutmeg. They are similar in fragrance, both being sweetly spicy and faintly bitter. Buy whole nutmeg and grate fresh as required. A few grates give a spicy whiff to carrots, beans, stuffings, any dish with ham, and to pork, veal and chicken dishes. Nutmeg goes particularly well with parmesan cheese. Mace, often sold as blades (broken pieces), is infused in milks and cream for sweet and savoury uses.
Photography by Julie Biuso