Tuesday, 04 August 2015 06:37

Amarelli: Calabria PDO liquorice

Amarelli: Calabria PDO liquorice

The best liquorice in the world grows on the Ionian coast of Calabria. As stated by the prestigious Encyclopaedia Britannica, the microclimate of the region gives the liquorice juice a unique taste. The plant spontaneously grows on the cliffs and on the slopes by the sea. It has blue flowers and very deep and twisted roots, so strong that they consolidate the clay soils where they grow.
The story of its use is very old and is strictly tied to the story of some of the most important feudatory families of Calabria, like the Amarelli.
The Amarelli family has been harvesting and selling liquorice roots since the 16th century; at the beginning of the 18th century the family decided to extract the liquorice juice in order to obtain a product which is easier to store and more widely marketable.
The Amarellis founded the first proto-industrial site for the juice extraction from the liquorice roots in Rossano in 1731. Rossano is an important byzantine town in Calabria. The workshop, with its old wooden trusses, the “cotto” floors and the cobbled paving, has been carefully refurbished and it’s the family’s production plant still today.
The Amarelli company has never ceased being an artisanal business. The liquorice is manufactured following methods that are in perfect balance between old and new, between tradition and innovative technologies.
Modern machines have now replaced the grindstones that milled liquorice roots and the steam boilers that at the beginning of the 20th century were used to prepare the paste that would give the juice. All processes of roots’ selection, juice extraction, cooking and concentration are totally computerized and take place in departments organized within the current regulations.
Nevertheless the final touch is the master confectioner’s who carefully supervises the process’s final phases and establishes the exact cooking degree of liquorice paste: this is a fundamental step to ensure the final product has the right consistency.
The cooking time cannot be mechanically determined. The paste’s perfect consistency changes according to weather conditions. Only the master confectioner’s expert hands, with their wealth of experience that is often passed through generations, can deal with this delicate task and judge the paste’s right consistency.
The careful selection of ingredients and the unique manufacture process made the Amarelli liquorice famous in the world: a real symbol of Italian lifestyle.
The absolute protagonist is the liquorice with its unique taste and extraordinary health benefits. Hippocrates recommended it to ease cough, Napoleon used it to calm stomachache before battles and Casanova had it ready in his cabinet and enjoyed it at the end of his love encounters.

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