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SPOTLIGHT ON: The sweet village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in Burgundy is a picturesque medieval village surrounded by bucolic countryside, vineyards and lush green hillsides. And it’s a place where the streets are filled with the scent of anise - Chantille de Lindcourt finds out why… Flavigny in the heart of Auxois, Cote d’Or is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France (Plus Beaux Villages de France). It has a long history linked to gastronomy, because it’s here, in this small, perched village of 300 inhabitants, that the famous “Anis de Flavigny” sweets have been made for several centuries. How it all began In 52 BC, Alesia in Burgundy was the site of a great battle between the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar and the leaders of the Gauls, Vercingetorix. A certain Flavinius was then head of the Roman camp which was established close by. And after the battle, given the land in gratitude for his bravery, he gave it the name Flaviniacum. Later it became Flavigny-sur-Ozerain. Legend has it that the Roman conquerors used anise seeds for stomach problems and the practice spread. In the 9th century, the monks at Flavigny Benedictine Abbey began making small anise dragees - a form of sugar-coated confectionary, after Charlemagne, King of the Franks ordered all monasteries to grow anis for medicinal purposes in 812. Why the monks in Flavigny coated the anis pastilles in sugar, no one knows. Anise sweets are still made in the town using green anise seeds, coated in flavoured sugar. Anise de Flavigny use a recipe, which after being refined over the centuries, has remained unchanged since 1591 gaining the company a “Living Heritage Company” award. And when you visit the town, a tour of the manufacturing workshop to discover its secrets plus a stop at their sweetshop, full of colourful pretty boxes of anis sweets, is an absolute must. But this little Burgundy gem has plenty more to tempt you to visit. During the French Revolution, the monks deserted the abbey, which was then sold as a public property and for the most part, destroyed. The Carolingian (750-887) crypt is well-preserved though, and you can visit it for free. Since 1591, the abbey has been occupied by the Anis de Flavigny factory. Long popular in France, they were even enjoyed by King Louis XIV who kept some in his pocket. What to see in Flavignysur-Ozerain? Take a stroll through the village and admire the architecture and ancient buildings. Halftimbered houses give an air of timelessness and fans of the film Chocolat, with Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche, will recognise the pretty cobbled streets – as it’s here that the filming took place. 50 | The Good Life France The Good Life France | 51
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