The distant lands where your Christmas dinner comes from

Ginger

India

India is, and probably always has been, the largest producer of ginger roots, although different varieties grow throughout South Asia. Ginger plants grow in most of the warmer parts of the country. You might spot some if you followed our Ultimate Rajasthan Itinerary.

Nutmeg and mace

Spice Islands

Native to the Indonesian islands of Banda, in the Moluccas (just south of the islands where cloves originate from). From the 17th to the 19th century the Dutch controlled the islands and the nutmeg trade – our own James I controlled one of the islands, but Charles II traded it for Manhattan Island in 1667; one of the best deals in colonial history. To get there (the Spice Islands, not Manhattan), see the entrance for the bread sauce.

Orange and lemon zest

China

Sweet oranges were first reported in Chinese literature in 314 BC, and they probably originated – along with lemons, which are probably a hybrid – from the southern part of this country. They have orange groves in southern China, but surely you want to go there for the sights of Guilin and the excitement of Hong Kong. China remains closed to tourists, but if things change you can try Wendy Wu (wendywtours.co.uk) for a good selection of tours.

Cinnamon

Sri Lanka

Cinnamon sticks are rolled from the inner bark of several species of trees native to the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka, which would become one of the main historical producers. Today, most of the world’s production comes from China and Indonesia.

You are spoiled for choice when it comes to Sri Lanka vacations – from beach vacations to wildlife tours. Kuoni (kuoni.fr) has an interesting mix of the two.

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