Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Génépi Tasting in the Alps

Not the stuff we actually tasted this time, which
got drunk before I could take a photo!
My last post may have given the impression that I spent my holidays engaged entirely in healthy, sporty activities. This is mostly true, but there was one day when we did something that was definitely not healthy or sporty, although perhaps could be described at a push as "cultural": we went génépi tasting. Génépi is a liqueur that is produced in the Alps from a small plant with yellow flowers that has the same name. In taste it's similar to Chartreuse: herbal, strongly alcoholic and sweet, although not in a sickly way. 

We visited the producers in the town of Corps. The man explained to us that there are in fact two different modes of production: macération(soaking)and distillation. Macération is the traditional method, where the plants are soaked in the alcohol, while distillation uses an alambic to produce a substance similar to an essential oil of the plant, which is then mixed with alcohol and sugar. Some producers add colour to their distilled product, but the one made by soaking is usually a natural shade of yellowy-green. Both kinds can be made sweeter or drier, with the drier varieties having a higher alcohol content.
We tasted sweet and dry versions of both types and I definitely preferred the génépi macération. It has an earthy, woody taste that was particularly obvious in the drier one, which was probably my favourite even though I normally have quite a sweet tooth. And if you are looking for a healthier alternative, the plant can also be made into a herbal tea that is supposed to help to treat colds.

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