A multipurpose mint

Archivio Saverio Pepe MentaAmong the many Italian excellences, officinal herbs, too, including peppermint, stand out. From Pancalieri, a municipality famous for the production of medicinal herbs at the gates of Turin, a particular variety of mint comes. It is internationally recognized as the best in the world. Several scientific studies and both aromatic and botanic classifications have established that the mint of Pancalieri is the most balanced among the varieties that are produced, as well as the one characterized by the most pleasant and fresh aroma. This variety, the so-called 'Officinalis Sun', is fine, refined, intense, refreshing, never unpleasant or irritating, persistent, very aromatic, as for both smell and taste. It is largely transformed in essential oil, in order to use it for food and liquors. This transformation takes place exclusively from the distillation in vapour stream of the green herb in whole plant, not minced. This process allows keeping the aromatic heart of this plant. It is necessary to use 10 quintals of fresh mint in order to obtain 3 kg of essential oil, but indeed very few drops are enough for making unique any product.

From cooking to confectionery
The uses of the concentrates of this amazing herb, precisely studied in order to understand the secret of its pleasantness, are very numerous. Its secret is entirely botanic and is made of a precise identikit of oils, essences, menthol, and other substances. The mint of Pancalieri is the inimitable touch that makes incomparable a series of products, from cooking to cosmetics, liquors, confectionery. The mint of Pancalieri has become a sort of ‘factotum’ flavour, for mint chocolate and ice-cream, refreshing or therapeutic syrup, sweets, candies, teas, or to give a touch of freshness to second courses, salads, and fruit salads. A particular use of this mint is the one which concerns cherries and even peppers, that can be aromatized in this way, for an unusual and tasty combination. In addition, it is especially valuable in bitters and liqueurs for appetizers. In this domain, ‘Rampin’, a chocolate and mint liqueur, is much appreciated. In the most exclusive and refined cafés, it is possible to find the mint syrup of Pancalieri with cane sugar, a base for Mojito; in other cocktails, it is also served straight: one tablespoon with crushed ice or cold water to obtain a more tonic and refreshing drink.

The original one is transparent
‘Mint green’ is a colour which is indicated in painting, fashion, furnishing. The mint of Pancalieri, in its liquid version, is as transparent as water, with bright reflections due to its essential oils. This transparency emphasizes the naturalness of this product and also its health benefits: mint extract has digestive, disinfectants, and calming properties.

The land of herbs
The cultivation of mint dates back to the Seventeenth century in Italy. In Piedmont, in particular, already in 1865 the chemist of Pancalieri Chiaffredo Gamba cultivated mint and distilled it by himself in a 100 litre still.
Today 50% of the Italian production of officinal herbs comes from the fertile land surrounding Pancalieri. Here the fields extend where in the past the river Po flowed sinuously and the clayey earth is still fine and rich in silicon, perfectly suited to the cultivation of aromatic herbs.
Kg 7,000 of essential oil are produced per year. It is not a very high yield, but its quality is very high. Germany, the Netherlands, and, more and more, Japan, are the most interested Countries in this particular product. In the USA, too, and in particular in the food shops which propose alimentary excellences in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, it is possible to find syrup, essences, liqueurs, sweets with the unmistakable smell and taste of the Mint of Pancalieri.
The packaging proposed for these products is white glass, with some concessions to the traditional Art Nouveau of Piedmont, a style that characterizes the packaging of the products realized by the companies of Pancalieri which go around the world.menta_2

courtesy photo: Essenzialmenta

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