Before the invention of the refrigerator, which now keeps our food cool and fresh, meat often spoiled before it could be eaten. Europeans longed for spices and herbs which would make their food taste better. Spices were often valued as much as gold, silk and other riches from the far east. Monarchs (kings and queens), would send explorers in search of new spices and herbs to trade in the marketplaces of Europe. From Marco Polo traveling east to Christopher Columbus traveling west, all explorers discovered new spices and herbs which they brought back to the trade centers of Europe.

Learn about a few of the common spices we cook with today. Find out about their origin (where they originally came from), who brought them back to Europe, how they grow and how they are used. Click here to begin.

Nutmeg (whole and ground)

Whole cloves
Star anise

Our Favorite Spice Report Websites

Spice Island Spice Encyclopedia -

The Cook's Thesaurus -

Epicurous -

The Culinary Cafe -

ASTA online, World of Spice -

Epicentre, Encyclopedia of Spice -