The story of Avaa Verjus begins in Berlin, where we, Benjamin, Jakob and Edward, have been dealing with extraordinary foods and regional cuisine for many years.
Production & Origin
Verjus is a prime example of how short transport routes, environmentally friendly production and the highest standards lead to quality.
For over a year, we worked on developing the perfect natural verjus recipe together with Arnd Henning Heissen, a German bar luminary.
The healing qualities of verjus were suspected in Europe as long ago as Greek antiquity.
Today, the health benefits are indisputable: In addition to healthy malic and tartaric acids, verjus also contains potassium, magnesium and calcium. A high content of anti-oxidizing polyphenols (up to 1,400 mg/l) provides an anti-inflammatory effect and is even said to help prevent cancer.
From Greek antiquity through to the Middle Ages, verjus was Europe’s original sour and condiment of choice for both its flavour and healing properties. That was until the Crusaders returned from the Middle East and brought with them the lemon; gradually, verjus was forgotten. Now, centuries later, verjus has at last reclaimed its place in the kitchen.
Taking its name from the Middle French vertjus (“green juice”), the history of verjus in Europe can be traced all the way back to Greek antiquity - Hippocrates of Kos first stated its medicinal properties around 400 BC whilst in ancient Rome, Pliny the Elder recommend verjus as a cure for stomach ulcers. Written in the 8th century, the Lorsch Pharmocopoeia also listed verjus as a remedy for stomach ailments.
In the kitchens of medieval Europe, the green juice saw widespread use beyond medicinal purposes for seasoning and as an acidulant and was acknowledged in the 14th century amongst the pages of the first ever German cook book: Bůch von gůter spîse (The Book of Good Food).
It wasn’t until the arrival of the lemon, brought to Europe’s markets by Crusaders returning from the Middle East, that the yield of verjus dropped due to its comparatively time- and labour-intensive production. While Arab physicians of the Middle Ages were considering its health benefits, Europe’s interest in verjus gradually waned until it was ultimately forgotten.
Now, thanks to an ever-growing emphasis on regional products and sustainability in the 21st century, verjus is once again an essential tool of contemporary cooking for any self-respecting chef: a sustainable, multi-purpose enhancer of flavour for salads, sauces, dressings, marinades, soft drinks and cocktails. Now, Europe’s original sour can finally reclaim its place.