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 at 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.
Conventionally nutmeg is used with potatoes, bechamel, cheese soufflés, omelettes, gingerbread and apple tarts. To be more original you can use it with lamb and goats' cheese. Mace will combine wonderfully with foie gras, endives and with certain fruits, such as bananas, melons and pears.