Basil is the quintessential taste of Italy, whether on pizza, pasta or as a salad dressing. Sweet Basil is a tender and aromatic annual with broad lush bright green foliage. The leaves are broadly elliptical growing in pairs opposite one another on the stems. In late summer it may bloom with small tubular white flowers in whorls which forms spikes above the foliage. Sweet basil requires a sheltered site to grow successfully but delivers superior flavour to British basil if you’re able to provide the right conditions. Basil works well in pots, which tends to work best in central and northern parts of the UK, or may be grown at the front of the vegetable patch or in a sunny, warm herb bed. When harvesting basil, it’s best to simply tear the leaves to release their beautiful aromatic smell, reminiscent of Mediterranean holidays abroad! Tearing is better than cutting with a knife of scissors as it gives a bigger release of essential oils. When using basil in your favourite recipes, always add the basil leaves at the end of cooking – this helps preserve their best taste as the essential basil oils that provide the smell and flavour are unstable.