Gentiane

The gentian is a tall, attractive plant that grows as a pernicious weed in the high mountain pastures of the Auvergne. Tough and difficult to harvest, its root is gathered each summer by specialist “gentianeurs”, whose family has often carried out the harvest for centuries.

After a long softening process, an extremely bitter alcohol is extracted from these roots, and the resulting much sweetened bright yellow drink - "gentiane" can be tasted in bars all over France under different names.

“Suze” is probably the easiest on the tongue; you really need to like the stuff to drink “Salers” (which is actually distilled in the neighbouring Limousin department of the Correze). It tastes like a cross between sugared meths and a pine forest.

A rather acquired taste - but quite addictive if you survive the first sip!




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