Enjoying a few days of vacation in the heart of the Green Venice, Mr Loyal your servant decides to discover the surroundings.

For my trip, I go to buy at theTourist OfficeIGN card to direct me through this labyrinth of greenery. And also a guidebook, a very beautiful book full of information on the history, traditions, fauna, flora... all the things not to be missed in this beautiful territory. At the bend of a path I see a field full of tall plants which arouse my curiosity. A man busy pruning these plants informed me: “You are in a field ofAngelic. This plant that we grow here is calledangelica archangelica (Formerly Angelica medicinalis), of the Umbelliferae or Apiaceae family.


But why this name?

She owes her name “angel weed” to its alleged magical virtues. It is said to be a plant that liquefies blood. It was once used to cause internal bleeding in women. Hence its other name “grass angel maker".

In 1603, theangelic was used to fight against the plague which raged in Niort and caused the disappearance of 1/3 of the population. In popular tradition, it was said that the name ofarchangelic that it carried during the Renaissance came from the fact that an archangel visited a sleeping monk to reveal to him that the plant could cure leprosy and the plague. It was also believed to have the power to cure rabies.

Finally, theangelic is a medicinal and aromatic plant from the same family as parsley and anise. The scent is reminiscent of gentian, mint and genepi. All parts of the plant are edible.

What is its origin ?

It is a plant whose origin is difficult to determine. It seems to have come from the cold, probably originating from northern europe and North Asia. Or from southern Europe. It was introduced in the 12rd century by the monks who developed the Marais Poitevin. It is still cultivated in the marshes on the banks of the Sèvre and along the canals.


I find it very elegant...

It grows to the state savage but is also cultivated. She is one of the biennial plants and is harvested in summer. It can reach up to 2 meters high.
It has long-stalked leaves, finely divided and hairy on their underside. The flowers are arranged in a large umbel. The flowers are greenish.
She appreciates a rather damp soil and rich in humus, hence its installation in the marsh.
She asks low maintenance and is not susceptible to disease.

Collection Marais Poitevin Interregional Park and Tourist Office.

For what purpose is it used?

In gastronomy theangelic enters into the composition of many cakes.
The most beautiful stems ofangelic cut at ground level are used in confectionery. The thinner stems are used to make syrup, candy, compotes and jams. The tender leaves can be used fresh to flavor salads and soups.

It is also part of the composition of several universally celebrated liqueurs, such as Benedictine and Chartreuse. It is used in the manufacture of certain gins, vermouth and, it is said (since, in this case, it would be a secret ingredient), certain muscat-type wines produced in the Rhine valley...
The seeds and roots are also often used as an infusion: it facilitates intestinal transit. Simply cut the umbels after flowering (in June) and dry them. Distilled, we obtain essential oils intended for flavoring.

Very interesting… And apart from gastronomy?

These same essential oils are used in the manufacture of cosmetic products : soaps, shampoos, creams and balms. L'angelic is invigorating and anti-stress.

This plant is renowned for its medicinal properties. Its leaves, roots and seeds are used in herbal medicine against fatigue and digestion problems, including intestinal spasms.

Virginie Pegoraro

It seems that it is a flagship product and that it is important in the imagery of the marsh!

Indeed, we speak of her as the emblematic plant of the Marais. It is still the subject of a relatively large trade today. Particularly at Niort and its surroundings where many companies in the sector cultivate it and showcase it in cooking: candied stems, liqueur, jam, compote, etc.

There is an association in the Marais Poitevin, of which I am one of the members, which organizes its promotion as well as the visit of angelica fields, in summer. It is the association promoting Angélique Niort Marais Poitevin.
Every year in May, in the commune of Bessines, a angelica party brings together artisans and lovers of this plant.

There you go Mr Loyal, have I responded satisfactorily to your curiosity?

Beyond my expectations, thank you…
Allow me to give you a name for this graceful, romantic and adventurous plant that inspires me  “Angelic Marquise of Plants” !!!

Magnificent!, he told me, and if you want to taste it you will find it in most regional produce stores, grocery stores, bakeries and tourist offices in the Marais Poitevin. »

With that, I thank him and resume my journey, map in hand, to discover the treasures of Green Venice.
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