Native to Siberia and western Asia, tarragon was unknown in Europe until the 16th and 17th centuries, when the development of classic French cooking extended the use of tarragon in the kitchen. Indeed, the best cultivated variety is usually called French tarragon (or, in Germany, German tarragon) to distinguish it from the inferior, bitter Russian variety. French tarragon, A. d. var. sativa, has mid-green leaves that are sweetly aromatic, with hints of pine, anise, or licorice; the flavor is strong yet subtle, with spicy anise and basil notes and a sweetish aftertaste.
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