It is actually the lacy coating (called the aril) that is found on a nutmeg seed. This lacy aril, which is red, is removed by hand from the outer shell of the nutmeg and then dried, becoming a yellowish-brown spice. Mace's flavor is described as a combination of cinnamon and pepper and a more pungent version of nutmeg. It is used in baked goods, particularly donuts and cakes, as well as puddings and custards. But the spice can also be a part of cheese dishes, souffles, sauces, soups, poultry, and fish recipes. Mace is sold in whole pieces called blades or in the more commonly-found ground form.
Most of the world's mace originates from Indonesia and Grenada, where mace is the national symbol and proudly emblazoned on the country's red, yellow, and green flag.
Mace is typically harder to find and more expensive than the more popular warming, highly aromatic spices. However, you will find it as a component of certain spice mixtures, including curry powder, garam masala, and ras el hanout. Not surprisingly, it figures prominently in Indian, Caribbean, Moroccan, and Asian cuisine, and is also used in Dutch, French, and British cooking.
Ground mace has a longer shelf-life than most other spices when stored properly in a tightly-sealed jar or container in a cool, dark place. When comparing ground mace to mace blades, 1 teaspoon of ground mace equals 1 tablespoon of mace blades. Nutmeg may be substituted for mace in a pinch and vice versa, but obviously, the flavor of the dish will be affected. Another substitute for ground mace is ground allspice.