Fennel seed is native to the Mediterranean and is now grown in many parts of the world including China and India. Fennel seeds are sometimes called sweet cumin or large cumin because of their resemblance to cumin seed. The flavor of fennel is slightly sweet and has a definite licorice-like taste.
Fennel is used in almost every culture; Italians use it on pork roast and in sauces, the French on fish, the Germans in sauerkraut, the Greeks in breads, the Chinese on poultry and people of India not only chew fennel as a breath freshener, but use it as an important ingredient in many curries. You can use it in sausage making, soups, cakes and cookies.