Ginger: exotic, spicy and stimulating!
Ginger is a rhizome which originated in India, probably in the Gingee region of Tamil Nadu. The Arabs called it zenj, in reference to the peoples of the east coast of Africa where they procured this delicious root and which gave us the name of the Zanzibar archipelago, located off the coast. Known from time immemorial as a medicinal stimulant and cooking spice in Asia, ginger was appreciated by the Greeks and Romans for its dietetic (and supposedly aphrodisiac) virtues. It became a staple of medieval cuisine before disappearing from Western menus during the Renaissance. It made its comeback via India and the British Empire when James A. Sharwood brought back the recipes for curry and chutney, where ginger is an essential ingredient, with its botanical cousin, turmeric (also known as curcuma). Today, ginger has once again become universal. Its exotic taste blends harmoniously with almost all fruits, from pineapples to mangoes, via berries and orchard fruits and gives that extra zing to all sorts of sweet concoctions. It’s also very comfortable in savory cooking, in particular with fish, sea food and poultry. Finally, the wide array of gingery flavors is an unending source of originality in mixology, adding its touch of spiciness and its inimitable fragrance to cocktails.