Basil

Imagine yourself in Italy

The gorgeous smell and fragrant, heady taste make basil an asset to your herb garden, and a mealtime ticket to the Mediterranean. The plant will live happily on your small, sunny balcony.

Colours and shapes

Basil comes from the Lamiaceae family, just like sage, thyme, mint, marjoram and rosemary. The leaves are unmistakeable: large, serrated, oval, pointed and bright green. The herb has a warm, fresh, strong fragrance, and if you're lucky, little white flowers will appear on your plant in summer. You will find the herb in many Italian dishes, from classic pesto to a colourful caprese salad, but it also tastes delicious with strawberries.

Origin

A native of South Asia, basil was brought to Europe from India and Persia in the 16th century. In addition to green basil, there is also red basil. Purple in colour, its taste is slightly stronger. Thai basil, a third variety, has an aniseed-like flavour.

Trivia

Traditionally, Italian women would place a basil plant on the windowsill to indicate they were open to some male company.