The taste of bay leaves is described as bitter and pungent, and it ranks at two of ten on the hotness scale. Bay leaves are aromatic when crushed or burned, and they are often left to steep in liquid and removed before serving.Bay leaves are a traditional ingredient of the French bouquet garnis. They are used in the preparation of meat, game, stuffing, soup, stew, sauces, marinade, and bland vegetables. Bay leaves are also used in the production of bay rum, which originated in the West Indies. Bay leaves are one of the characteristic Cajun spices, along with cayenne, hot pepper sauce, black and white pepper, thyme, and file powder. They are also characteristic of the cuisines of Brazil, Greece, Germany and Eastern Europe, Jamaica, and Scandinavia.