Bergamot is an evergreen from the Runtaceae family, with pear-shaped fruits that resemble small unripe oranges. It is known as the «citrus prince» because of the important role that it plays in the perfume industry, with its essential oil and pleasant, refreshing scent. The country of origin of the bergamot cannot be determined with certainty. However, there is speculation that it originated in the Arabian Peninsula and that Arabs spread the plant throughout Europe, or that Christopher Columbus imported it from the Canary Islands to Southern Italy.
Bergamot grows on shrubs that can reach up to 3 meters in height, and its fruits can vary in shape, size and color. The average weight of the fruit can range from 80 to 300 grams, and fruits of different sizes can be found on the same plant. The bergamot bloom begins in March and lasts until the end of April. The flowers have 5 pearly white petals. The peel of the fruit varies in color, from green to light orange, smooth or moderately coarse. It has a yellow pulp with a unique acidic taste and aroma.
Bergamot is most commonly used to balance and add flavor rather than as a separate food item. Bergamot pulp and peel are used for syrups, spicy sugars or salts, cocktails, sauces, marinades, marmalades and jams. They can also be used to add flavor to cakes, cookies, yogurt, ice cream or various beverages.
Bergamot oil is derived from its peel, and it is one of the most popular oils in the perfume industry. Gian Paolo Feminis made the first bergamot-scented cologne formula, resulting in widespread bergamot popularity worldwide. Bergamot oil, in addition to black tea, is a major ingredient in Earl Gray tea. Apparently, placing black tea next to bergamot resulted in the aromas mixing, creating this type of tea.
Bergamot oil is one of the strongest soothing and relaxing essential oils. The oil is inhaled, massaged or added to baths. Bergamot essential oil is highly phototoxic which means that it should not be applied to the skin for 24 hours before exposure to sunlight. Bergamot is an antidepressant, antiseptic, analgesic, diuretic; it improves digestion, helps with colds, flu and fever, loss of appetite, stress, anxiety, depression and PMS.
As with other fresh fruit used in bars as a decoration and accessory for drinks, bergamot, if not used after two days, loses its aromatic properties and can be thrown away. Dehydrated bergamot is ideal for bar usage because of the optimum use of the whole fruit as well as the extended shelf life of the product itself.
All of Botanica's dehydrates are dehydrated in professional dehydrators under certain conditions to ensure the perfect final product - every time. Also, when a guest receives fresh citrus as a drink decoration, he/she often squeezes the fruit into the drink, which throws the taste of the drink into imbalance. Dehydrated fruit contains a high concentration of aroma and flavor, which automatically means that a smaller quantity needs to be used.
Dehydrated bergamot is the perfect decoration for cocktails, hot drinks like black tea, soft drinks like iced tea, and even plain water, desserts, meat dishes, and as an addition to marinades. It gives your drinks a citrusy aroma and it complements well with Mediterranean herbs and Juniper. It goes well with gin, vermouth, white rum, vodka and prosecco wines in spritz cocktails.