The literal translation of quatre épices is four spices; however, quatre épices rarely contains JUST four spices, but can have anything up to five or six spices in the mixture! This is my own version of quatre épices, a spice mixture that I find invaluable in the French kitchen, especially for charcuterie such as terrines, pates, sausages and rillettes. This spice mix is also that quintessential ingredient when added to deep, dark slow cooked beef and game dishes, especially when they contain wine. There is a school of thought that suggests the need for a "sweet" quatre épices spice mix as well a "savoury" quatre épices spice mix; I have never bothered to deviate from this basic recipe, which is equally delicious in savoury dishes (as mentioned above), and when used with moderation in sweet puddings, rich cakes and biscuits. My recipe contains five spices and will keep for a several weeks in an airtight tin or jar. This spice mix also makes a thoughtful gift for a foodie friend or host and hostess!