The origin of allspice (pimenta dioica) is important to its flavor. Spices have a terroir the same way wine does. Although it is native to most of Central America and tropical South America, the best allspice berries come from Jamaica. These berries are smaller than their central American brethren. The Jamaican variety has a much sweeter, fuller, and truly ‘spice’ flavor. When ground, it has an aroma that reminds of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Cultivated Central American trees produce a larger berry that smells similar to its Jamaican counterpart but, upon grinding, the aroma becomes flat. It is much earthier and is unappealing for culinary use.
Unfortunately, most spice companies use berries grown in Central America. Guatemala and Honduras are leading producers and their price can be as little as half the price of the Jamaican product. Many food enthusiasts never experience the wonderful Jamaican product, so they perceive allspice as bitter and off-putting. The flavor of true, Jamaican allspice shines in recipes for Jerk Marinades, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Shawarma blends, barbeque recipes and homemade stews. At the Spice House, we proudly sell the finest finest allspice from Jamaica.
– Spice Boss, Tom Erd