A wild, sparkling, floral spice from west Africa with hints of lavender and long-lasting hot flavour profile.
Grains of Paradise grow on the west coast of Africa and are nowadays harvested primarily in Ghana and Nigeria. This wild variety is hotter and more aromatic and grows wild in Congolese forests.
On the tongue, Grains of Paradise are hot and the effects linger in the mouth. Their fragrance is at once peppery and minty, with floral and citrus notes. Once ground, Grains of Paradise release lavender and camphor aromas with subtle hints of anise. In their home terroir, Grains of Paradise are used in the same way that any pepper would be; in soups, stews and meat dishes. In the Middle East and north Africa, they are found in spice blends such as Ras El Hanout. Grains of Paradise can also be found in certain alcohols such as Gin, Aquavit and Pastis. We like to incorporate them in grilled foods and even, in small doses, as a base for chocolate desserts.
Grains of Paradise bear a strong resemblance to the seeds of black cardamom, except paler in colour and slightly larger. Greatly appreciated by European cooks during the 13th century, it eventually waned in popularity and it is now rarely found outside of Africa.