Nutmeg grater exhibition opens in Bristol

Enamelled graters
Image caption These enamelled graters from Staffordshire would have been given as "upmarket" souvenir-style gift in the late 1700s

More than 200 nutmeg graters - billed as "the biggest ever collection" of the ornate implements gathered in a single place - have gone on display.

The unusual items, which have been loaned to a Bristol gallery by private collectors, date from the 1690s.

An urn-shaped grinder, a memorial grater adorned with a photo of a dead child, and one built into a walking stick are among the exhibits.

Curator Stephen Grey-Harris said the majority had never been seen in public.

Image caption Mr Grey-Harris, whose shop houses the gallery, said nutmeg grinders were so unusual he had probably only seen half a dozen during his 50-year career
Image caption This grater, from the late 1700s, is fashioned in the style of an urn
Image caption In this example from the 1760s, a picture has been added later to commemorate the death of a child
Image caption Many of the larger graters have built-in storage containers to keep the nutmeg inside
Image caption This well-used walking stick incorporated a nutmeg grater in its handle
Image caption This lucky recipient of this Valentines card - made in the 1920s - would have found a nutmeg grater alongside a message from their sweetheart
Image caption A finished grater, from 1934, appears alongside the patented design it was based on
Image caption The exhibition, a Celebration of the Nutmeg, runs from 27 November to 5 December at Grey-Harris & Co, in Princess Victoria Street, Clifton, Bristol

What is nutmeg?

  • A spice from the nutmeg tree
  • Native to several Indonesian islands
  • Both nutmeg and mace come from the same plant
  • Nutmeg is the 'nut', while mace is the surrounding lacy 'aril'
  • Nutmeg has a warm, spicy aroma and flavour
  • Can be used in sweet and savoury cooking

Source: BBC Food

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