The Herb Garden
A walk through the Gozo countryside in early summer is fragrant with wild herbs, such as pennyroyal, fennel and Mediterranean thyme. Some of these scents greet the visitor to Ta’ Frenc, entering through the elegant stone archway to the patio and the herb garden. Many varieties of mint, basil and sage share space with lemon balm, verbena, lavender and rosemary. The plants have been sourced in Sicily and locally, under the guidance of a trained horticulturalist, choosing varieties which are adapted to the climate and soil of Gozo. The herbs are not only used for garnish, but to add flavour to dishes, both sweet and savoury.
You can enjoy the scents as you sip a glass of house champagne while reading the menu or having a few words with Mary Grace Attard, who is usually there at the weekends to welcome guests. Indeed, it was her late husband, Ino, who introduced what has become one of Ta’ Frenc’s signatures, the after-dinner infusion, prepared with much ceremony at your table, using a selection of herbs freshly picked just beforehand and to sweeten the refreshing infusion, honey from local hives or carob syrup. The herbs – perhaps mint, lemon balm and a little sage – are snipped up and placed in an elegant glass teapot of simmering water set over a small light. The herbs are left to infuse the water, and then once poured, the infusion can be sweetened to taste, or left plain.