Very French, Very Good!
By Franz Scheurer
In the last few days three new products have hit our market and they are very French and bloody marvellous.
The Distilleries et Domaines de Provence have been distilling Pastis for more than a hundred years at Forcalquier in the Haute Provence and their blend of herbs and spices hasnít changed in all those years. Heavily based on star anise, this is a very different Pastis and heaven-sent for lovers of liquorice and anis.
Best served in a tall glass poured slowly over a piece of cube sugar, left to rest for a couple of minutes, then filled up with water and ice added, if desired.
Based on gentian and quinine (from the bark of the Cinchona tree), this is a fabulous sweet-bitter concoction with a strong and attractive orange flavour. It tastes terrific simply served on the rocks as an aperitif but itís real Ďraison díÍtreí is its marriage with beer. It is traditional in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland to pour a nip of Amer BiŤre into a glass of beer and enjoy the resulting taste sensation. You should try it, you might love it as much as I do! (Warning: itís really addictive)
We donít see a lot of spirits, liqueurs or aperitifs based on gentian. Gentian is an alpine plant that grows to about 2m tall with bright yellow flowers and it is the plantís root that contains all the aromatics. Traditionally distilled in Switzerland and France it harbours a powerful flavour with an alluring bitterness that is cleansing and suitable as an aperitif as much as a digestif. Drink it on the rocks or with a dash of lemonade before a meal or straight and ice-cold out of the freezer after a meal.
Available form good liquor stores or direct from the importer: Cerbaco† Distribution, 133 Market Street, South Melbourne, 03 9699 9410