Lovage is a delight. Not just the prolific growth it puts on in the summer, nor its tasty leaves, roots and seeds, but also its wonderfully warming and energising properties.
Rather movingly, the name ‘lovage’ is derived from ‘love-ache’, though the ‘ache‘ actually refers to an old name for parsley. However, a hair-wash with lovage infusion was said to be an attractive aphrodisiac, so perhaps there is more to the etymology than we know? The botanical name for the genus ‘Levisticum’ appears to be an evolution from the original ‘Ligusticum’ referring to its earlier popularity in the Luguria region of Northern Italy.
It has a very distinctive taste of strong celery and parsley and is used in much the same way; it brings body to a soup, some spice to a salad and is fantastic in fermented pickles.