Cucumber

Cucumber. You are perhaps the oldest vegetable cultivated by humans, with your traces found in ancient sites older than 3,000 years. The Uruk King Gilgamesh was already praising your health benefits, more than four millenniums ago. Gourds, melons, and cantaloupes are all members of your great family.  Your aroma and fragrance are so fresh and…

The Coolest Herb

Mint. In the Antiquity, your freshening smell was appreciated in funerals for covering the smell of decay and to prepare the kykeon, a psychoactive beverage drunk at secret religious rites, the Eleusinian Mysteries. In the same mythology, Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, Queen of the Underworld, metamorphosed you, beautiful naiad Minthe, into a bush…

Piper Nigrum

Piper Nigrum or Black Pepper is native to the South-Western Province of Kerala in India, where it grows wild. The fruits of this flowering vine have been appreciated or even venerated by humans for millenniums. So much that already in the antiquity, the Greeks and the Romans imported black pepper from Egyptian merchants for a fortune….

Caramel

Caramel. You are the child of Sugar and Cream, born after a hot wedding night. Sweet you are, and your heavenly aroma transports us to paradise. Blond, light-brown, gold, amber, dark-brown, it seems you emulated the rainbow of our human race. Hard, soft, grained, chewy, enrobing or flowing, your nature is versatile, and your texture…

Fragrant Nails

Fragrant Nails. How many sailors and merchants died for you? How many others have made their fortune with your trade?  Your overpowering flavor and anesthetic properties made you a valued ingredient for oral hygiene and medicine to cure toothaches. As a spice, you transformed bland meat into tasty gravies and made desserts so delicious. Old Europe…

Calabrian Bergamot

Calabrian Bergamot. Were you truly the secret ingredient of the tea offered by a wealthy Mandarin of Fujian to the Prime Minister Charles Grey, or more realistically a convenient flavoring to enhance the aroma of a stale black pekoe that the Earl particularly appreciated? Legends abound around the origin of one of the most popular…

Sweet & Spicy Cinnamon

Sweet & Spicy Cinnamon. You are the taste of winter. Either in mulled wine or sweet pastries, you give to the little ones and the grown-ups warmth and joy at this season. You are among the oldest spices known and treasured by the ancient civilizations of the Middle-East and Europe. The Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Greeks and Romans, all considered you…

Star of Spices

Illicium Verum, you are the star of spices and also the star of our Scent & Flavor homepage. You are originated from China where you are called bājiao (八角), meaning eight horns. There, you are the secret of delicious gravies, usually combined with cassia, cloves, Sichuan peppers and fennel seeds in a five-spices seasoning. You…

Irresistible Little Pod

 Irresistible Little Pod. Your sweet smell and delicious taste were unknown until the discovery of the Americas. The Aztecs had already cultivated the vine and the flower for years before the Conquistadors named you first vaina and then vainilla (small pod in Spanish) because of the shape of your fruits. They brought you back to Europe, along with…

Osmanthus Fragrans

Osmanthus Fragrans. An ancient Chinese legend sees you as a giant tree growing on the Moon, shading the light of the celestial body. Wu Gang, in his quest of becoming immortal, was sent by the Emperor to the moon to cut the self-healing osmanthus, in vain. It is in this autumn equinoctial time that the Chinese celebrate the…