The Antica Drogheria Francioni is located in Ponte a Poppi in the heart of the Casentino valley of eastern Tuscany, a valley famous for being the birthplace of Michelangelo and the source of the Tevere river. The pristine countryside is covered with a thick forest of pine, cypress, and chestnut trees, and the bottom of the valley is full of wild herbs and flowers during the sunny spring months.
Signor Francioni along with a group of local retired friends scout the countryside carefully observing the tall green wild fennel, gauging the maturity of the blossoms and determining when they will have the perfect maturity to pluck. As the flower caps of the fennel plant come into full bloom, tiny yellow-green flowers form into a tightly packed umbrella and a fine dust of the pollen starts to blow with the warm summer breezes. The end of July into the beginning of August is the ideal harvest time, before the fennel goes to seed.
Fennel Pollen, with its bright, clean anise flavor, has been a treasured ingredient in Tuscany for centuries. Manicaretti first started importing Fennel Pollen over twenty years ago, when Founder Rolando Beramendi brought the herb back to the United States from Italy in his suitcase. It has been featured in the Wall Street Journal: "Few gastonomic discoveries prompt such effusive descriptions as a first taste of fennel pollen...[we'll] settle simply for the word 'magic." The beauty of Fennel Pollen is its versatility; it adds delicious depth to every dish—from pork to seared tuna, fresh cheeses to fruit tortas. To get the most out of Fennel Pollen’s magical properties, do as the Wall Street Journal recommends: serve it simply to let its subtle flavor shine.