Lovage is a perennial plant that is a member of the parsley family. It has yellow flowers, which bloom during the summer, and die as autumn comes. The flowers have a very intense scent. The seeds, roots and leaves of the plant are all widely used for various culinary purposes in Europe. Lovage was introduced to Europe by the Romans, who used it not just as a flavouring agent but as a medicine for treating stomach aches and fevers. Today, lovage is commonly used in the dishes of South and Central Europe.
Even though true lovage is a native of Southern Europe, it is widely cultivated in countries such as Germany, Hungary, France, Czechoslovakia, Italy, the United States as well as western Asia. Additionally, there are two main types of lovage that grow wild – sea lovage and lack lovage. Sea lovage is also referred to as shunis or Scottish lovage are found in parts of Britain and the U.S. Black lovage, on the other hand, are found to grow wild in Britain and some parts of the Mediterranean. They are also referred to as alexanders.
Lovage is often added to soups, stocks, stews as well as meat dishes as a flavouring agent. Its flavour is reminiscent of celery, and just like celery, the leaves and stems can be employed either whole or chopped.