la cucina nel MedioEvo

Spices and herbs were  introduced from the Eastern lands by the crusaders coming back from their journey to Jerusalem, the Holy Land. There is no clear difference between herbs and spices. Generally speaking, Herbs are derived from leaves and seeds, spices from flowers, fruit or tropical plants.

Commerce changed to include different products, including spices from  Egypt, Syria, Iraq and other great cities. They were important trading centres because of their strategic position on the routes to  India, Persia and the Mediterranean.
The spices were then carried across the Mediterranean to the Italian seaports to the major towns and cities of Europe.
Here is a list of the most important spices taken from the East:
Black pepper – from Asia and later Africa; Cinnamon – from tropical barks;  Cloves and Nutmeg – from the  Moluccas, or Indonesia; Ginger – or ‘Grains of Paradise’, used instead of black pepper; Saffron – used to colour foods; Cardamon  – from India and Sri Lanka; Coriander and Cumin – similar to  the parsley; Garlic – from  Rome; Turmeric – yellow-orange root, related to ginger; Mace – from the nutmeg seed; Anise – seeds and leaves are used to spice a variety of dishes; Caraway – or Persian cumin, dried seeds from a herb; Mustard – from seeds or ground.