Spice is the collective name given to various aromatic substances which are used to season and flavour sweet and savoury foods.
Spices have been used for many hundreds of years, each spice having its own history. Originally, they were used to disguise stale foods before refrigeration and processing were introduced.
Spices stimulate the appetite and also the gastric juices. Used in moderation, they can enhance almost any kind of food, from cakes and pastries to the most elaborate meat or fish dishes.
For more detailed information, see the separate entries under each individual spice.