“On the mountain face of the Gran Paradiso, the génépy concentrates its most intense perfumes.”
It happens occasionally that a magazine article, read fleetingly, can change one’s life. This is what happened to Emilia Berthod 12 years ago. She started to cultivate génépy plants on her land on the banks of a stream. During her second pregnancy, leafing through an agricultural newspaper, Emilia saw an advertisement offering génépy plants to whoever had land, time and passion to dedicate to cultivating these plants. She began with 200 plants, reaching 10 000 the following year.
Génépy is a high altitude Artemisia, traditionally harvested during pasture months by families who took the animals to pasture. This was then taken to the village in 5kg bags, to be sold or transformed into the famous Aosta Valley liqueur. Cultivation has increased in the past twenty years. This guarantees an average of 4 years of harvest per specimen. Emilia does not drink, she does not transform her génépy into liqueur, but sells it dried: she drinks it brewed as a tea. It is up to one’s personal imagination to use it in a variety of ways. The package contains an infallible recipe for making the traditional liqueur.
The plants are carefully protected against weeds, and they are hand-picked. If they are caressed, as Emilia does, they give off an unmistakable scent. Cultivating génépy has allowed Emilia to transform a great passion into work. ©Dispensa