Mrs. Federica Galeazzi in Clementi is the company spokesperson and she is personally in charge at the Liquorificio Clementi located in the beautiful town of Fivizzano, nestled between the sea and the hills, between history and culture. The Company, as she says, is a small Company based on Family management, production does not reach 15,000 bottles, but when you hear that name “Clementi”, the first thing that comes to mind wherever you are in the world is a bottle of China Elixir. We can safely say that China is Clementi as the Maraschino is Luxardo and crown the product Queen of the China Elixirs. The recipe is not by a monastic recipe or found in some old trunk, but fruit of the wise mind of Giuseppe Clementi, raised between drugs and medicinal plants thanks to his father, after having achieved the specific degree, opens the pharmacy in 1882 and, crowning skills and taste, it produces its first Elixir just two years later, in 1884 in the back room of its small-town pharmacy. The birth of China Clementi is mainly a curative product that Dr. Clementi prescribed to his patients as a digestive, corroborating and tonic, in whose recipe in addition to China Calisaya, China Succirubra and Mediterranean bitter orange peels are also two hidden secret ingredients, herbs that still today, in minimal but decisive quantities, respect the original prescriptions. To keep this link with the past intact in the recipe and in the original preparations, Nicola and Lanfranco work for that, employees of the Family of pharmacists and always engaged in galenic preparations now the prerogative of a few modern pharmacists. Returning to China historically we can not forget the gold medal won at the 30th World Exposition that was held in Rome in 1911, when certain prizes were won with difficulty and with difficulty it was possible to exit from its territory commercially. Success is an insidious temptation, which suggests commercial shortcuts and productive accelerations, but the Family believes in the original recipe, in the purity of raw materials and in the total absence of additives; no enhancer, no coloring, no flavor, only the best Chinas and oranges and the usual cold method, even shortcuts in the distribution of the product that remains of niche and has never yielded to the advances of the large-scale distribution. Obviously over the years the demand has grown and the Clementi Family is forced to leave the laboratory set up in the pharmacy and give life to a real Liquorificio, obtained in a disused ironworks a few meters from the pharmacy, recovering the attached power plant and a disused pasta factory. After four generations of pharmacists, the current liqueur has only one recipe and one product, without any diversification: “we are only able to make our own way,” admits Mrs. Federica with disarming humility, which also explains how to start from pure water used until the final product, the production method of China Clementi respects the surrounding environment thanks to an emission of almost non-existent waste material. Today the Ancient Clementi China Elixir is not only one of the cardinal references for its merchandise class, but is a guest in the kitchens of starred chefs for gourmet reductions and emulsions as well as a sought-after ingredient in the most dynamic and creative mixologists’ cocktails in Japan as in the States, preserving the prized status of niche product but responding, within the limits of a contingent production, to widespread notoriety and desires. The China Clementi certainly reflects an excellence in craft production, results of a maniacal search for quality in the choice of its ingredients such as pure water and fine alcohol, then continues in the peels of the Mediterranean more intense and Amaranth, perseveres in the manual selection of the bark, experienced as a century ago, testing aromas and textures in the bags of yellow china (Cinchona Calisaya) and red (Cinchona Succirubra) from the best crops in the world. Quinine alkaloids, oils and noble resins are stripped of their resources in the subsequent maceration that lasts for months with at least two movements a day, triggered by a mother quota that has always been stranded in machinery as well as in the percolator and in the topping tanks, amalgamating constantly according to the Solera method in a repeated and proportionate mixing that maintains the splendid usual quality over the years. For over a century the Clementi Family uses the same suppliers of botanicals. The last production saw the shredding of Colombian peel judged to date the best together with the Javanese, after that Ecuador has blocked exports and Brazil has not proved up to the expectations of Clementi, with botanicals valid for the big industry but not for the artisan pharmacopoeia of the pharmacists Family. This itinerary studded with hard work, passion and dedication ends behind an allusively exotic and liberty label that offers the face of the founder, opposed to an absolutely exhaustive counter label (for those who have the attention of a comparison) of the differences in quality and quantity with the most commercial competition. At sight a beautiful orange color and golden reflections to the movement, to the nose herbaceous riches and discreet suggestions of the unusual alcohol content; on the palate the perfect balance between china and citrus notes with pasty and soft sugars, then the gradual discovery of officinal aromatic thicknesses such as rhubarb, ginseng and licorice. A second sip, more greedy, reveals the pungent volumetric power skillfully and insidiously concealed by barley-candy references in the constant nostalgia of the radical and botanical notes. Do not tire or saturate the papillae, persisting for a long time in a sophisticated and complex balance, extraordinary for a bow, alternating the difficult contrast between sweet and bitter with spicy reflections, without ever expiring in pastry or syrupy tones.
If you want to buy a bottle of this fantastic China and visit one of the oldest pharmacies in Italy, you can reach it here:
via Ferriera, 4
54013 Fivizzano (MS) Italia
Tel. +39 058592056926864