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07.09.2022Elke Jauk-Offner

Knowledge about spices

Beguiling basil, aromatic sage, potent bay leaves – herbs have always played a special role in the refinement of dishes. Knowledge about their healing power has been passed down over the centuries. They also play an important role in the cuisine of the Familux Resorts. Andrea Mayer is responsible for this, who took over her parents’ bed and breakfast in 1989 and, together with her family, converted it into a luxury family hotel, the Alpenrose – Familux Resort in Lermoos. Since then three more resorts belong to the Familux Resorts hotel group: Oberjoch in Allgäu, Dachsteinkönig in Salzkammergut and, most recently, The Grand Green in the Thuringian Forest. Andrea Mayer finds distance from the stressful daily hotel routine in her garden, where she has planted many herbs. From basil to parsley, chives and sage to laurel, her herbs grow and thrive magnificently. “Some of them, especially basil, bay and sage, I regularly take into our hotel kitchen. It is very important to me that our guests are pampered with fresh products and with the garden herbs I can make my personal contribution to this,” says the hotelier.

Basil


What makes it special


The home of the basil herb is believed to be India. Here, basil is grown in the garden. If you make tea from it, it is said to help against flatulence and indigestion. Even in ancient times, basil was valued as an invigorating soup herb and digestive spice for heavy dishes.


What makes it special


Basil adds a Mediterranean flavour to many dishes. The distinctive aroma usually belongs to “Genoveser” basil, one of many varieties, among which there is also “Dark opal” with its dark purple shoots, lemon basil or Thai basil. 


How to enjoy it


Basil is best enjoyed fresh – roughly chopped or plucked – with mozzarella and tomatoes, salad or already-cooked dishes such as vegetable soups. In dried form, basil is not quite as aromatic. Fresh basil should not be heated, as the leaf colour can darken and change the flavour.


Sage


What makes it special 


Sage is a versatile medicinal and spice plant. Its name is derived from the Latin “salvare”, which means “to heal”. Sage tea, for example, is suitable for inflammations of the gums, mouth and throat. The essential oil in turn has a disinfecting and antispasmodic effect.


What distinguishes it


Sage is used fresh and dried in the kitchen, it has a slightly tart flavour. Because of its intense aroma, it should be used sparingly for seasoning. Sage is particularly popular in Mediterranean cuisine. There are numerous types, including lime sage, pineapple sage and marzipan sage. 


How to enjoy it


Sage goes well with meat of all kinds, with fish and vegetable dishes and with pasta or focaccia. A famous Italian dish is “Saltimbocca alla Romana”, which combines veal with ham and sage leaves. Sage leaves can also be tossed in butter, which then takes on a delicate aroma.  

Laurel


What makes it special


The laurel wreath is still considered a symbol of success and fame today. The original home of the laurel tree is Asia Minor, and a tree of its kind can live for over 100 years. Laurel oil extracted from fresh fruits is mainly used externally for medicinal purposes because of its circulation-promoting and antiseptic properties.


What distinguishes it


The leaves of the bay tree are harvested young and dried; they can be used as a spice. Fully ripe fruits can also be dried quickly but gently and used as a spice, advises pharmacist Mannfried Pahlow in “Das große Buch der Heilpflanzen”. If the leaves are broken, the aroma is quickly lost.


How to enjoy it


The use of bay leaves has been somewhat forgotten in some places. Bay leaves can be cooked for a long time. They harmonise well with roast sauces, vegetable soups and stews, among other things. To allow the aroma to develop better, the leaves should be lightly torn before being mixed in during cooking. Do not eat them.

Elke Jauk-Offner
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