What are Spices?
Spices can relate to dried seed, fruit, root, bark or other vegetable substances. It's role in food products is to enhance flavor and sometimes be used as a preservative.
The spice trade developed throughout the Middle East in around 2000 BC with cinnamon, Indonesian cinnamon and pepper. 
Spices were among the most luxurious products available in Europe in the Middle Ages, the most common being black pepper, cinnamon (and the cheaper alternative cassia), cumin, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. They were all imported from plantations in Asia and Africa, which made them extremely expensive. From the 8th until the 15th century, the Republic of Venice had the monopoly on spice trade with the Middle East, and along it with the neighboring Italian city-states. The trade made the region phenomenally rich. It has been estimated that around 1,000 tons of pepper and 1,000 tons of the other common spices were imported into Western Europe each year during the Late Middle Ages. The value of these goods was the equivalent of a yearly supply of grain for 1.5 million people. While pepper was the most common spice, the most exclusive was saffron, used as much for its vivid yellow-red color as for its flavor. Spices that have now fallen into some obscurity include grains of paradise, a relative of cardamom which almost entirely replaced pepper in late medieval north French cooking, long pepper, mace, spikenard, galangal and cubeb. A popular modern-day misconception is that medieval cooks used liberal amounts of spices, particularly black pepper, merely to disguise the taste of spoiled meat. However, a medieval feast was as much a culinary event as it was a display of the host's vast resources and generosity, and as most nobles had a wide selection of fresh or preserved meats, fish or seafood to choose from, the use of ruinously expensive spices on cheap, rotting meat would have made little sense. 
Source(s) Derived From
|Plant Sources, Other Natural Sources|
Natural or Artificial?
Aliases (Also Known As)
Natural Spice Blend
Natural Spice Extractives
Natural Vegetarian Spices
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|Ingredient added||UPC Food Search||January 1, 2009 @ 2:14 AM|