Use this warming, highly aromatic and pleasing spice to brighten the cold winter months. Whether ground or whole cardamom, much like cinnamon and nutmeg, is valued as much for its fragrance as its flavour.
The two main types of cardamom are malabar and mysore. Both begin their life as the seedpod of a plant in the ginger family. Malabar has a delicate and floral flavour whilst mysore tastes more piney and woody. The intense flavour of this pod is widely used in the spicy stews of the sub-Himalayan plains of India, Pakistan, Nepal and China and also in the desserts and beverages of Indian and the Middle Eastern.
Although this spice is indigenous to South West India, and was exclusively cultivated there until circa 1900, Guatemala is now the world's largest producer of this valuable crop; the third most expensive spice in the world, falling right behind saffron and vanilla beans.