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Mace is the aril (the bright red, lacy covering) of the nutmeg seed shell. The mace is removed from the shell and its broken parts are known as blades.

Mace lends a warm, fragrant, old-world spiciness to many baked goods and sweets. You can also use it in an array of savoury favourites, such as pates, creamed spinach, and mashed potatoes. It enlivens vegetables or macaroni and cheese. Try 1/8 teaspoon for 4 servings. Sprinkle on fruits, whipped cream, or anything chocolate. Mace can also be substituted for nutmeg.

Mace has a warm, spicy flavour that is subtler, but similar to nutmeg's. Mace's strong aroma is similar to a combination of pepper & cinnamon.

The nutmeg tree is native to tropical Indonesia, in a region known as the Spice Islands, and parts of South-east Asia, where it has been used to produce spices for centuries. The fruits of the nutmeg tree enclose the richly flavoured nutmeg seeds; mace is found between the exterior fruit and the internal seed, and it takes the form of bright waxy red bands which surround the seed. Europeans were introduced to mace by the Dutch, who at one point held a formidable spice monopoly in much of South-east Asia.

It takes 400 pounds of nutmegs to produce one pound of mace.