That most magical of spices….

Being a true foodie, one of the greatest joys in life is undoubtedly spices. They open up a whole new world of taste, sensation, feelings, and even memories like no other ingredient can.

Cardamom pod
Cardamom pod

For me, possibly, the most mysterious and magical of them all is cardamom. I can’t remember the first time I tasted it, in reality, I can’t remember ever NOT knowing it. From holding that wrinkly pod in your hands, to popping it open to release those weird-looking, ugly seeds, to putting them in your mouth for a sensation like no other – perfumed, flowery, fragrant, deep, myrrh-like. It swirls me away every time, to distant lands, places I’ve never even been but which exist firmly in my imagination.

I’ll never forget that Indian wedding dinner I was a guest at in Turin when, at the end of the meal, instead of the requisite mints brought out with the bill, the waiting staff descended on the long table with miniature chests of drawers which the curious guests quickly set out to discover. Hidden in the little drawers were these magical pods, and we were encouraged to chew on them to cleanse our palate. Who needs chewing gum!

Ground cardamom
Ground cardamom – nothing quite like it

While in Turin, my flatmate once came home with an impromptu gift for me. She said that as soon as her eyes landed upon this book, she immediately thought of me and couldn’t resist the purchase. She sure knew me well! (Incidentally, it’s a wonderful book and I highly recommend it.)

I recently happened across a simple, delectable recipe with cardamom taking centre stage. It really rounds off a meal beautifully, leaving in its wake dreams of travel to lands beyond. Don’t blame me if you get addicted!

Heaven in a coffee cup
Heaven in a coffee cup

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