Mahlab or mahleb is an aromatic spice derived from the seed of the St. Lucy’s cherry, found in the Mediterranean region. The spice requires drying and cracking of the rock hard cherry pits to extract the seed kernel—5-8 mm in diameter, soft and chewy. It tastes of a mix of sour cherries, bitter almonds and a hint of rose. When baked, the flavour transforms to rich and fruity, making the spice best with baked items such as breads, cakes and cookies. Mahlab is best when ground before use, as its flavour dissipates quickly. It pairs well with both milk and cheese. In Greek-American cooking, it is a flavouring in Christmas cakes and pastry recipes. In Greece, it is used in egg-rich yeast cakes and cookies such as Christmas vasilopita and Easter tsoureki breads. In the Middle East, it is used in scones. In Egypt, powdered mahlab is made into a paste with honey, sesame seeds and nuts and eaten as a dessert or a snack.