On the Quest for Kanel, Galingale and Grains de Paris…

I’m looking for something to mix/brew as a drink for a future event, and I’m very intrigued by a recipe for Clarrey in A Forme of Cury which is a mulled white wine instead of red.

Take kanel & galinga, greyns de paris, and a lytel peper, & make pouder, & temper hit wyt god wyte wyne & the þrid perte honey & ryne hit þorow a cloþ.

I now know that kanel is cinnamon and galinga is galingale.  I’m intrigued at the idea of blue ginger, which is what I’m told galingale is.  It’s supposed to be stronger than common ginger,  and so common ginger will probably suffice, but I’m curious enough to try and find actual galingale now.

What’s next, oh yeah, ‘greynes de paris’ – Grains of Paris? (images of crumbled up Eiffel tower, Notre Dame and the Louvre spring to mind)   I looked up a Middle English dictionary that told me this was pepper, but since the next item on my list is “a lytel peper” that seemed a bit unlikely.  Digging a bit more there were all sorts of suggestions, including a substitution of Grains of Paradise.  I then came across this excellent post on google groups, written by Stephan Bloch:  https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/rec.food.historic/KeaVISRJy7E  

In his post he details some possibilities from sources, including that these grains are “‘grains of paradise,’ the very piquant seeds of an African ginger plant” or 

“plain pear seeds, or ground-up dried whole pears” He says Terence Scully, ed. “The Viandier of Taillevent”, in his glossary says it’s “Amomum melegueta, melegueta pepper, Guinea pepper.”   He cites other sources that suggest that the grains are related to cardamom, another pepper like berry.  ”

In short, many writers agree that it’s similar to cardamom (but 

perhaps larger), and most modern sources agree on the Melegueta pepper

tree, Amomum melegueta.”

Anyway, most modern versions of this seem to go with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom pods and pepper, all of which are made into a powder and mixed with a good wine and a third part honey, then strained through a cloth.

This of course leaves us with some gaps.. I had thought this was mulled, as in heated spiced wine, served once done.  I read “temper” as heat together so that’s fine, but there’s no indication of when the passing through cloth stage occurs. Straight after you mix in spice wouldn’t leave much flavour.   Modern interpretations  I’ve read go for soaking the spices for a day before straining and bottling for anything  up to a year.  Sounds like a science experiment to me 🙂

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