Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Anis, A Love Story

Les Anis de Flavigny, aniseed bonbons, are  produced in Flavigny, a medieval village high on a hill in northern Cote d’Or.  Just one hour and 30 minutes out of Paris, this historic village is close to the ancient town of Alesia where Julius Cesar fought a hard campaign against the Gauls.  Cesar is said to have bought aniseed with him for the wellbeing of his troops.  Then with the founding of a Benedictine abbey in 718, it is likely to have been the monks who first developed the recipe.

Generations of anis lovers including Louis X1V and Madame de Pompadour have enjoyed the small, hard sweet.  The Anis seed is believed to traditionally symbolize happiness and fertility. The distinctive oval tins feature romantic, pastoral scenes of sheperds and shepherdesses taken from original engravings and illustrations, in the Abbey’s archives.   

For 500 years the small sweets have been made to the same recipe in the same place, the Abbey.   A free tasting and tour of the factory takes place Monday - Friday 9am - 11am.  The small anise seed is rolled in fine layers of syrup and takes 15 days to make.  Today’s third generation of family sweetmakers produce 10 flavours including violet, rose, ginger, tangerine, mint, all made without any artificial flavouring, colours or sweeteners and exported all over the world. 

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