Aframomum melequeta, West Africa
Grains of paradise are actually the seeds of a perennial plant native to the West African coast and are sometimes referred to as “melegueta pepper.” In the same family as ginger, they share ginger’s warming and carminative properties. Grains of paradise have a peppery initial flavor with notes of ginger and cardamom.
Historically, this spice has been used as a substitute for black peppercorns, and traditionally was used in the cuisines of Northern and West Africa. These seeds also hold a revered space in the folk tradition of Voodoo in the Caribbean and are commonly used in different rituals.