Green walnuts, cloves, Maria Luisa, nutmeg and cinnamon. These are the 5 elements that a herbal liqueur must contain in order to be marketed as Ratafia.
Herbal liqueurs were already known in Greek and Roman times but it was not until the Middle Ages that monasteries worked and perfected the formulas to make spirits with fruits and aromatic plants, many of them with healing functions.
These formulas soon reached homes. Each peasant made his own ratafía and each gave his special touch to liquor, a well-kept secret that was passed down from father to son.
With the abandonment of rural activities and the displacement of the population towards the cities, the family and homemade production of ratafía declined and consumption declined. However, in Catalonia ratafía has been developed without interruption and in recent years it has undergone a recovery. Currently around 500.000 liters are produced per year.
In 1985 the Catalan Ratafía was recognized as a Denomination of Quality. To manage the Protected Geographical Identification (PGI), a Regulatory Council was created. The latter is responsible for representing, defending, guaranteeing and promoting the IDG and has its own governing body.
In September 2019, seeing the great growth in the consumption of ratafia, the regulatory council went to Indian Webs to create a web page about the PGI Ratafia Catalana from scratch. We immediately agreed when defining the objectives of the page:
The elaboration of the Catalan Ratafia has traditionally been linked to the Santoral calendar, hence the saying "The herbs of San Juan have virtue all year round. Thus in Catalonia the traditional calendar collected by various authors was as follows: the collection of new herbs and herbs is associated with Saint John, which is when they are in full season. For San Pedro, if the herbs have been saved, the mixture is made. For the Virgin of August bottled. And finally at Christmas it sneaks in. The tasting can be after Christmas, although there are those who do not wait and do it for All Saints [G. Rossi, 1986; J. Fabrega, 2001; J. Quintana, 2011; A. Figueras and MT Castellón, 2012].
Therefore, the saints already indicated the four stages of production: harvesting, maceration, embellishment and bottling.
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