Bergamot, a citrus fruit bearing many legends that are both mysterious and contradictory.
Bergamot is one of the components of Pagès' organic teas and herbal infusions. Its slightly bitter taste brings an original taste to our creations.
Origins of bergamot
Bergamot is one of the plants linked to several legends, sometimes contradictory.
It would have been introduced in Europe by the Crusaders. Its name would come from the Ottoman Turkish word "Bey armut" which can be translated as "The master's pear".
In France and especially in the Lorraine region, where this citrus fruit is now almost an emblem, one prefers to say that it was René 1st of Anjou, Duke of Lorraine in 1431, who had discovered the small citrus fruit during his Italian excursions in an abbey near the city of Bergamo. It is at this place that the monks distilled Bergamots from Calabria. René 1st of Anjou reportedly brought the fruit back to France and was at the origin of his knowledge in the West.
Others argue that Bergamot was brought back from the Canary Islands by Christopher Columbus and that it takes its name from the city of Bergamo, where it was originally grown. No one knows for sure today whether the name of the fruit and it are really linked.
Another story states that the fruit comes from an Italian, who had the idea of grafting a branch of Lemon tree on a Bergamot Pear tree.
Characteristics of bergamot
Name: Citrus bergamia
Fruit of the Bergamot tree, Bergamot is mainly cultivated in Italy where it represents a rather important economic weight for the local industry. It is also found along the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas, in Brazil and Côte d'Ivoire.
Bergamot belongs to the Rutaceae family. This small fruit or citrus fruit weighs between 80 and 200 grams and has strong similarities with Orange or Lemon. Indeed, its slightly bumpy rounded shape can easily trick us. Especially since the Bergamot bark has a medium green or bright orange colour depending on its species. Its flesh is slightly acidic, almost bitter. Its zest has powerful and very characteristic flavours, unique among citrus fruits.
Be careful not to confuse Bergamot with "Lemon Bergamot", the latter being the trade name of a type of Lemon tree originating from the Marrakech region.
Uses of bergamot
The fruit of Bergamot is generally harvested for the oil contained in its bark. This essential oil with its sweet and slightly spicy notes is mainly used in the culinary arts. It brings a very original touch to savoury and sweet dishes. It is important to note, however, that it should be used sparingly, like any essential oil. Bergamot is also the component of well-known dishes: Earl Grey tea, Lady Grey tea, Nancy Bergamots, Commercy madeleines, tajine in candied form, etc. In view of its past and present, we can say that Bergamot is Nancy's emblem: it is found in the typical culinary dishes of the region quite often.
Bergamot essential oil is also found in cosmetics, a field in which it excels. Soothing, it is known to calm minds with its sweet fragrance. It is often part of the components of cologne or certain sun creams. Bergamot essential oil is obtained by cold expression of the zest of fresh fruit using special machines. The essence of the Bergamot petit grain is obtained by distilling the tree's tops and leaves.
Benefits of bergamot
As with many other plants, Bergamot is credited with several benefits. It is known to relieve digestive disorders such as transit problems.
It is also used to soothe skin irritations; it is mainly the essential oil of Bergamot that is used for these cosmetic purposes.
Finally, the well-known calming properties of Bergamot justify its use in the fight against stress, anxiety or to favour a good night's sleep.