Liquorice is a herbaceous plant from the Fabaceae family, also called 'black liquorice' or 'sweet wood'. It is a Mediterranean plant native to Syria whose roots are used.
It is used in medicine due to its multitude of benefits, but also in confectionery and in liqueurs.
Nutmeg is indigenous to the island of Banda in the Molucca archipelago. It was introduced in Sulawesi, Java and Sumatra, Malaysia on the island of Penang, in Bengal, the Caribbean and Brazil. Pierre Poivre planted it in Mauritius and Reunion.
The nutmeg is the seed at the heart of a fruit the size of an apricot. The outer layer of the nutmeg which is yellow or red is called the mace. The grated nutmeg and mace are used in the same way. The latter is less aromatic but more subtle.
Râs al Hânout isn't a spice, but a mixture of spices from Morocco. Each spice merchant has their own recipe. The literal translation is "the head of the store", that is to say, the best in the shop. An exceptional mixture can make a shop's reputation.
Each merchant keeps their recipe secret, which can contain up to 27 different spices, including black pepper, coriander seeds, cloves, green cardamom, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, salt, pepper, nutmeg, Melegueta pepper, long pepper, cubeb, mace, galanga, gum arabic, belladonna berries, dried flowers and also rare extremely powerful aphrodisiacs such as the Spanish fly!