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Everything Sweet Woodruff (Gallium Odoratum)

Bear with me – this is fairly unknown in the rest of the world. Woodruff-flavoured things exist mainly in Germany, as well as some countries to the east of it. In Germany it’s called “Waldmeister” (Master of the woods). It has a unique, relatively mild taste and is used in everything from sweets to schnapps. The actual plant is mildly toxic in high concentrations, and while totally fine in amounts used to flavour food, many manufacturers have switched to using aromas imitating the taste and smell of real sweet woodruff. Most woodruff products tend to be green in colour.

Very well known products incorporating sweet woodruff:
– Berliner Weisse (Beer)
– Götterspeise mit Waldmeister-Geschmack (Woodruff Jelly)
– Multiple Haribo sweets (most commonly Haribo Waldgeister)
– Drink syrups
– Ahoy-Brause (soda powder to dissolve in water, but honestly, most german kids dip their finger in it and lick the powder off)
– Maibowle (“May Wine”, similar to mulled wine but with fruits and sweet woodruff – this one’s a real specialty)
– Soda/Pop/Lemonade
– Alcohol (shots, Berentzen Schnapps, etc)
– Tea
– Ice Cream (particularly soft-serve from street vendors)
– Ice lollies (fun fact: German rocket lollies, instead of the yellow pineapple part, have a green woodruff part)

As a German who moved to England 10 years ago, it’s a taste I quite miss. No one’s ever heard of it over here – they gave it out at a German international convention and friends came back raving about “that green stuff”.

You can find images of a ton of German woodruff products below this article:

Waldmeister-Aroma in Wackelpudding, Brausepulver und Bonbons