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Genepi from the Alps

Genepi is one of the best-known aromatic plants of the Alps. It belongs to the mugwort family (“artemisia” in Latin).

Aromatic plant of modest size rarely exceeding 20 cm, it likes the mineral medium of altitude (2500-3000 meters) in summer. Its name alludes to a “yellow cob”.

Its picking is strongly supervised because its regeneration is very slow. To allow this practice to continue, everyone must adopt a responsible approach.

Genepi liqueur is obtained by macerating the plants in alcohol, then diluted in a sugar syrup. The traditional recipe is simple: 40 strands, 40 days, 40 sugars!

More precisely, to obtain 1 liter of drink at 40°, mix 40 sprigs of genepi (cultivated in Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye by Olivier Imbert, of course), with 50 cl of pure alcohol, which is left to macerate for 40 days. Then, we prepare a syrup composed of 40 sugar cubes in 50 cl of water, which we mix with alcohol after having filtered it. Drink in moderation, of course.

Genepi is famous for its toning and digestive properties, and can also be drunk as an herbal tea.

For more pleasure, our producers have sublimated it under different forms: Vermouth aperitif with genepi from Lachanenche, obtained by macerating genepi in white wine, Pork terrines cooked by Le Fumeton in Barcelonnette, La Sauvage craft beer brewed at an altitude of 1500 meters, Tomme from the Dairy Cooperative (ideal in a hot box!), Dark chocolates from Grand Rubren filled with ganache soaked in liquor, or even Gaillardises de Bayasse confit, for a high mountain concentrate in a small jar!

There are different varieties of genepi that you can find at the “Maison des Produits de Pays”:

Artemisia mutellina: white genepi or yellow genepi. It is the female genepi, which Olivier Imbert cultivates in organic farming from an altitude of 1700 meters, on its natural field. Hairy-silver and always slightly inclined, the plant grows in cushions in the cracks of rocks, on scree or in stony lawns.

Artemisia spicata : black genepi or true genepi, is a rare and protected species, which grows on the northern slopes of our mountains. It is highly sought after and appreciated for its more intense and full-bodied taste. Its picking is prohibited in the Mercantour Park, but the Lachanenche Distillery has an authorization for the use of a very small harvest. Special vintage, on order only.

Artemisia eriantha: it is the most vigorous an its size can exceed 20 cm. It presents a long spike of grouped flowers which has powerful aroma but its picking is prohibited.

Artemisia glacialis : genepi of the glaciers, it is the rarest species. Its flower heads of a brighter yellow end on short sterns which emerge from a sort of cushion of fairly compact leaves.



Benoit et Olivier inspecting the plants