Myrtle is a small, evergreen plant native to Southern Europe and North Africa. It belongs to the Myrtaceae family and has very small, glossy dark green leaves, white star shaped flowers and black berry fruits.
Myrtle is very fragrant and has been used since Roman times to make an alcoholic drink, called Mirto, still drunk in Sardinia and Corsica today.
The leaves and stalks can be used instead of kitchen bay to flavour chicken, lamb and poultry by wrapping them round the meat, or stuffing them in the cavities of pheasants, partridges and quails. The berries can be used in conjunction with black pepper and juniper.
The plant has a very clear, fresh and clean aroma, and infusions of it are thought to clear the nasal passages.