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Essential in aniseed aperitifs
Star anise is the fruit of the Chinese star anise tree (Illicium verum). It was brought back to Europe as early as the 13th century by Marco Polo (1254-1324), but its use did not develop in the West until the Renaissance, thanks to its importation by the British Empire. It owes its vernacular name to its characteristic eight-pointed star shape. Composed of a woody polyfollicle with eight carpels each containing a seed, the fruits are picked green. After drying in the sun, they take on a reddish-brown color. Used as a spice in cooking for its aniseed taste, star anise has replaced green anise in aniseed aperitifs such as the pastis made in Forcalquier but also anisette, ouzo, or sambuca.
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