TDM CCN Header

26 November 2012

Canarino (Lemon & Bay Leaf Tisane) and The Town of Cibiana di Cadore, Italy

When we moved in to our house, we surrounded our house with plants and little trees to make it more homey. We have a big planter filled with three tall alloro (bay trees / bay laurel) fronting our bedroom window to give us a bit of cover from the parking area of our neighbors.  The owner of the plant shop we bought it from suggested that these evergreen plants serve as perfect divisions.  The foliage never fall off and they are always lush and very green all year round.   It was definitely the plant we were looking for.    Besides, a bay leaf or two in cooking is always needed.  I looked at him with doubt in my mind.  I was never really fond of bay leaves when I was growing up.  

This tisane changed that.   When my husband was complaining of a slight tummy ache once, my mother-in-law, who was visiting, prepared this tisane for him.  She asked me for a few bay leaves and an untreated lemon which I got from our trees.   I watched and listened as she prepared the tisane.  What I didn't expect was the aroma that permeated the whole kitchen.  The lemon rind mixed with the bay leaves gave off such a pleasant aroma and taste. 

I made this the other day when I looked out the bedroom window and noticed our growing bay trees.  I have been consistently using the leaves for cooking meat and beans.  The tisane which my mother-in-law calls canarino (named after the yellow canary birds because of its rich yellow color) came to mind.  I didn't have an upset stomach but I thought a cup of this warm tisane would be a pleasure to sit with in a cold afternoon.

Canarino is prepared primarily with lemon rind boiled or steeped in hot water for a few minutes until it gets the vivid yellowness of the lemon.  Some prepare it with bay leaves, sage or other fresh herbs.  My husband's family puts bay leaves and I too, like it that way.  It is advisable not to sweeten it but I like the slight hint of sweetness from honey.

I saw a beautiful picture of a mural the other day and I suddenly remembered how much I admired a peculiar, colorful town in the Dolomites called Cibiana di Cadore.   With the mountains in its backdrop and old rustic houses painted with murals, I remained in awe with this inspiring town. 

Cibiana di Cadore became famous after it commissioned Venetian and international painters in 1980 to voluntarily paint murales (murals) in the old houses in the town.  Each mural corresponds to the the characteristic of the house it is painted on.  There is the mural on the house of the locksmith, the baker, the ice cream maker, the dairyman, etc.  There are also murals about the history of the town.  Presently, there are 50 murals around the town.

To a person holding a camera, it is hard not to take so many pictures of such an interesting place because every single piece merits a picture of its own.  If you were there, you wish there was more than one of you to take pictures in all directions. 

I hope you enjoy these pictures I am sharing in this post as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Have a good week to all of you!


Canarino (Lemon & Bay Leaf Tisane)

Makes 2 cups
  • 500 ml. water
  • 1 untreated lemon, rind only (without the white part)
  • 2 - 4 fresh bay leaves
  • honey or sugar to sweeten (optional)
  1. Pour water in a pot.  When it starts to boil, drop bay leaves and lemon rind.  Boil for 3 minutes then turn off fire.
  2. Cover and steep for another 10 minutes.
  3. Serve hot sweetened or unsweetened.