JAMAICA. Allspice has the aroma of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon with a hint of mace and peppercorns. Pungent, sweet and warm, ground allspice is a wonderful baking spice, perfect in cakes, cookies and pies. Allspice is a key ingredient in Caribbean cuisine and is a wonderful addition to savory dishes such as meatballs, ham, meat loaf and pot roast; spaghetti sauce, barbecue sauce, soups and sweet potatoes.
Allspice is the fruit of an evergreen tree indigenous to the West Indies, brought back to Europe by Columbus in 1494. In addition to its flavor, allspice was also valued for its preservative qualities. Also referred to as Jamaica Pepper, Myrtle Pepper, Pimenta, Pimento and English Pepper, early explorers thought they had found the far east and their coveted pepper. The name allspice was coined in the 17th century by the English who thought it combined the flavor of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.