Genepì: the natural mugwort liqueur without preservatives – Italian Cuisine

Genepì: the natural mugwort liqueur without preservatives


At one time, in the mountains of the Aosta Valley, they called it aspirin des montagnards: genepì flowers (common name of Artemisia glacialis and some similar varieties), infused in hot milk with honey and other herbs, were a remedy for colds and flu, and even for altitude sickness. Today genepì (or genepy) has become synonymous with liqueur, but the base is the same plant, which clings to cliffs and moraines, up to over 3000 meters.

Do you know mugwort?
Mugwort is very aromatic, with balsamic, antiseptic, digestive and tonic properties. Rare and precious, it is protected and can be harvested in small quantities, without removing the roots: for the liqueur today local companies use seedlings grown at about 1400 meters. Production takes place for maceration of plants, dried or fresh, in a hydroalcoholic solution. Or for Suspension, placing the herbs on raised grills. At the end, a solution of water and sugar is added. The liqueur, which obtained the Igp as Genepì della Valle d'Aosta or Genepi de la Vallée d'Aoste, it is free from unnatural dyes and flavors; and must be carried out within the regional territory.

Genepì in cocktails
From cocktails to risotto and desserts Genepì is clear, straw yellow, sometimes light green; the perfume is intense, with floral scents and herbaceous and hay notes. To the taste it is soft, with the typical bitter taste of artemisia. It is served neat at the end of a meal digestive or how aperitif, with ice or seltzer; but it is also establishing itself in the cocktail. For example, a drink based on Cortese's Génépy, mixed with Gray Goose Citron, lime juice, ginger beer, St-Germain, lime honey, mint, blackberries and fresh raspberries, won the last edition (2017) of the Skyway Cocktail Competition, the contest held on the Aosta Valley peaks. Finally, the liqueur is also worth trying in kitchen: in sorbets, jellies, creams (zabaglione), puddings. But also to give a touch bitter savory recipes, to be blended with genepì instead of white wine: risotto, which can be flavored with cream cheese; white meats, such as Valdostana-style escalopes with fontina cheese; stew, which can be prepared with red wine and genepì.

January 2022
Marina Cella

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