Sweet, resinous, with a hint of nutmeg.
Myrica Gale is a very common plant in Quebec, usually found near lakes or running water. Its leaves are covered in a fragrant resin, hence the name Sweet Gale in English. The leaves can be made into an herbal tea or infused, but it’s the fruits (or catkins) that pack the most aromatic punch.
Sweet Gale fruit has a peppery but gentle aroma, with a pine-like background and aromatic notes that resemble nutmeg. In cooking, it can be used to marinate pork, poultry, or wild game. It makes a great complement to grilled meat and homemade charcuterie. You can also use it to flavor apple, pear, or citrus desserts.
During the Middle Ages, Sweet Gale was often used to flavor beer. It was added to an herb concoction called gruit, which was a popular flavor additive before hops became popular.
While cooking with Myrica Gale is a recent phenomenon, it has been used by numerous First Nations to treat a wide range of illnesses. The first colonists also used its leaves, rich in yellow pigments, to dye wool or cotton cloth.