Food Programme

BBC Radio 4

Arts, Food

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Investigating every aspect of the food we eat


Nutmeg: The Smell of Christmas?

December 22nd, 2013

Episode 352 of 661 episodes

For cook and author Nigel Slater, 'Nutmeg and citrus are the scents of Christmas' but Sheila Dillon needs convincing. Together they look at the versatility of nutmeg as a spice that can bring life to mulled wine, egg custards, meats and puddings. People take it for granted now but nutmeg was highly prized in the kitchens of 16th and 17th century Europe. Traders ventured to the ends of the earth to secure it because of its value. The Dutch and the English vied for nutmeg supremacy and, in December 1616, Nathaniel Courthope and his small army saw off all competitors to gain control of the valuable nut so it could be shipped back to Britain for the culinary elite to enjoy. Today in Grenada the spice is so important it features on the national flag. But when Hurricane Ivan struck in 2004 it devastated the entire crop and hit the economy with a vengeance. Almost ten years on the nutmeg crop seems to be well on its way to recovery and we find out how it is used on the island. Producer : Perminder Khatkar.

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