Cloves are the dried, unopened flower bud of an evergreen tree from the myrtle family. Native to the Molucca Islands in modern Indonesia, they are now a major export crop of Madagascar, Zanzibar, India and Sri Lanka.
The discovery of cloves by Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish and British explorers has brought this most pungent of spices to the kitchens of every continent. Today they are an intrinsic ingredient in some of the world’s most famous spice blends such as French quatre épices, Chinese five-spice, Indian garam masala and Middle Eastern Bharat. Cloves are used in Indian and Asian curries as well as in apple pie, cooked ham, stewed fruit and pickles. Owing to their high strength cloves must always be used sparingly in cooking and fished out prior to serving, as biting into a whole clove releases an intense, almost antiseptic, taste.
Produce of the Antaminarivo region in Central Madagascar