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Spice It Up

The brightly hued annatto seed adds pop to local dishes.

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What: Study menus around town and you’re likely to notice dishes featuring “annatto” or “achiote.” The spice is made from ground, brick-red annatto seeds, the pods of which grow on a shrub in the Caribbean and Central America. Annatto imparts a peppery, somewhat nutmegy flavor to dishes. It is also often used for color—for years its primary use in this country was to color butter and cheese.

Where to buy it: Savory Spice (multiple locations, savoryspiceshop.com) carries achiote paste and annatto (whole and ground seeds). You can also find it at Latin markets.

Where to taste it:

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