In appearance, the nutmeg is like a tiny coconut–small, round, with a rough surface. At first nutmeg tastes sweet but then turns bitter, which may be nature’s way of limiting its consumption as nutmeg is believed to be toxic in large quantities.
Nutmeg is the seed of a tree that is native to Indonesia but which is now cultivated in other parts of the world, including Malaysia and some Caribbean islands.
The spice was introduced into Europe in the 17th century and demand was such that it triggered a commercial confrontation between the English and the Dutch.
In Greek cuisine, nutmeg is used in sweets combining nuts, phyllo and syrup but it’s also used in some savory items, most notably bechamel sauce and cheesepie.