Myrtle is a bushy Mediterranean aromatic plant that grows where there is sun and warmth.
In Italy, myrtle grows and is used mainly on the island of Sardinia. Sardinian cuisine uses it extensively to flavour traditional dishes, which is why when you say myrtle, the automatic mental association is with Sardinia.
Myrtle leaves are used to flavour game meat or pasta sauces as well as to make a decoction as a remedy against bronchitis and inflammation of the respiratory tract or infusions.
Equally famous is the liqueur made from its purplish berries that resemble blueberries, called ‘Mirto’, which is dark in colour and for this reason known as Mirto Nero. It has an intense and slightly spicy flavour and can be served either iced or at room temperature. We recommend room temperature or slightly chilled in order to taste all the flavours at their best.
Myrtle liqueur is also perfect to accompany ice cream or fruit or to add to coffee.
There is also the White Myrtle variety obtained by macerating unripe white myrtle berries.
In essence, Mirto liqueur is to Sardinia as Limoncello liqueur is to Campania.
In Italian restaurants or trattorias there is a custom of offering a digestive liqueur at the end of the meal and the choice always falls on Mirto or Limoncello.
Myrtle bushes are very dense and lush with beautiful dark green, glossy leaves and because of this it was already used to decorate gardens as far back as Roman times.
It blooms between May and June and its fragrant flowers are small and white.
It also grows on the south-west coast of England, where the climate is mitigated by the Gulf Stream.