These small flavored anise drops have been made in France since the 17th century.
The base of the Flavigny candy is anise. The Anise used is an umbelliferous plant and its small oval fruits, striated longitudinally, have a warm, spicy flavor and a remarkably aromatic scent.
Then Flavigny places the seeds in large pans and pour sugar syrup (water and sugar) over them. The seeds roll over one another and gradually become covered in fine successive layers of syrup, kind of like snowballs tumbling down a snowy hill.
This rotation in pans also makes the candies become smooth, like stones that are rolled on the beach by the incessant waves of the sea. The process involves delicate, patient work; the candy-maker needs 15 days to transform the small seed that weighs barely two milligrams into a one-gram candy. Of course that's a big change over the ancient process that took 6 months!
The taste for anise-flavored beverages was introduced to the shores of the Mediterranean in ancient times, during the Turkish and Hellenic domination. The cultivation of anise then gradually expanded to the entire Mediterranean area.
The natural flavors are extracted from plants by steam or alcohol distillation. For mint, for example, the leaves are placed in a still, and then the water is heated. The steam that is formed crosses through the leaves and is impregnated with mint essential oil. The essential oil is recovered, after passing through the goose-neck, when the conduit crosses through a bath of cold water.