The dry, unopened flower bud of the tropical myrtle tree family used to flavour a wide variety of sweet and savoury dishes. Cloves are used in the cuisine of Asian, African, Mediterranean and the Near and Middle East countries, lending flavor to meats, curries, and marinades, as well as fruit such as apples, pears or rhubarb.
It pairs well with cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, red wine and basil, as well as onion, citrus peel, star anise, or peppercorns. Cloves can be used whole or ground to impart a strong sweet but spicy and peppery flavour so should be used in moderation to avoid over seasoning. Insert whole cloves into baked hams or oranges, apples or onions to add flavour or add ground cloves to curries. Cloves may be used to give aromatic qualities to hot beverages, often combined with other ingredients such as lemon and sugar. They are a common element in spice blends such as pumpkin pie spice and speculoos spices.