Wednesday 22 January 2014

Looks Good, Tastes Good and By Golly...

For me, pastis is the taste of France. Nothing says 'Welcome back, and where the heck have you been?' (in French) more clearly than the first Ricard on French soil. It's never the same back home. Though I usually bring a bottle back (pastis being spectacularly cheaper over there), drinking it is just a pale reflection of the French experience. Or it was until now. At Christmas, a niece who knows the shortest way to her uncle's heart presented me with a bottle of Henri Bardouin Pastis. This is pastis in a different league from the Ricards and Pernods. It comes from Provence and, according to Wikipedia, contains 50 herbs and spices. Wiki lists 29 of them - from Mugwort to Fennel, by way of Star Anise, Centaury, Grains of Paradise, etc, etc. The remaining 21 ingredients, Wikipedia claims, are secret.
According to the Distilleries de Provence website (impregnably protected from under-18s by demanding that users key in a date of birth), this is an underestimate of Henri Bardouin's bounty; this Pastis - the only one ever to win a gold medal at the Paris Agricultural Show - contains no fewer than 65 herbs and spices. It is also the only pastis, so Distilleries de Provence decrees, that can be drunk throughout a meal - a tempting prospect, but I must conserve my supplies... The Wormwood Society (you didn't know?) also praises it highly, describing its flavour as 'incredibly complex' and its aroma as 'an herbal feast'. Both true - it is also that wonderful thing, an alcoholic drink that actually feels it's doing you good. Perhaps it is - I like to think so. The question is, what do I do when I've finished the bottle? (Actually I know the answer to that, having found a couple of ways of buying it online.) Cheers!


  1. it is just a pale reflection of the French experience

    Ah, the lot of us Anglospherics. Forever condemned to either wistfully mourn that our Coquilles St. Jacques will never match theirs or puffing our chests out and mocking the cheese-eating, wine -drinking surrender monkeys who are too feckless to see that wars are won with flagons of bitter and roasts and two vegs measured imperially,

    Seriously, with the exception of the pasta-eaters, who else could fit into that sentence?

  2. Well quite, it's a love-hate thing - only thing wrong with France being that it's full of French - likewise Italy full of Italians. Can't think of anywhere else where that applies - perhaps Greece? Yes, surely Greece...