Internationally recognized as the best in the world
Thanks to its silicon-rich, well irrigated soil, Pancalieri, a small village in Piedmont, is the homeland of mint, specialized in the growing of the most scented, flavorsome variety of the herb: peppermint ( L. var. Officinalis sole, species Rubenscens Camus) known as Mitcham Mint (a town in Surrey, England), from the English town where it began to be cultivated.
The distilled product is called Essential Oil of Pancalieri Mint. Because of its wonderful taste, delicate fragrance and intense aroma, several scientific studies and both aromatic and botanic classifications have established that the mint of Pancalieri is the most balanced among the varieties that are produced thanks to the particular composition of the soil but also because, according to some experts, it is cultivated on the 45th parallel, exactly halfway between the North Pole and the Equator This variety is refined, refreshing, never unpleasant or irritating, persistent, very aromatic, as for both smell and taste.
The cultivation of mint dates back to the Seventeenth century in Italy. In Piedmont, in particular, already in 1865 the chemist of Pancalieri Chiaffredo Gamba cultivated mint and distilled it by himself in a 100 litre still.Black Mint was introduced to Italy in 1903 by Honoré Carles who, in 1901, had joined Giovanni Varino, founder of the distillery of the same name in Pancalieri in 1870. From 1908, this botanical species spread quickly both because of the yield in the field, remunerative for farmers, and the yield in essence, remunerative for distillers.
Information on the cultivation of mint in Piedmont dates to the 18th century, as shown by the 'Iconographia Taurinensis', kept in the library of the Orto Botanico in Turin, now the Department of Vegetable Biology of the Agricultural Faculty of the University of Turin.
Pancalieri: il Paradiso della Menta
In the 1930s there were already 72 alembics, with a production of 100 tons of essential oil.
Today 50% of the Italian production of officinal herbs comes from the fertile land surrounding Pancalieri. Pancalieri is a town of 1,900 inhabitants situated on the left bank of the river Po, 30 km uphill from Turin: it can be considered the small capital of the mint. As a matter of fact, the whole plain between Cunese and Basso Pinerolese areas can be considered the "medicinal basin" of Piedmont, since here medicinal and aromatic plants which played an essential role in the sweet and liquor local industry are produced.