The Magic of Nocino Liqueur

Nov 19, 2018 874

BY: Silvia Donati

There are many recipes in Italian cuisine related to ancient traditions, popular beliefs and even magic rituals. One of the most fascinating is linked to the preparation of nocino, a dark brown liqueur from the Emilia-Romagna region, made from unripe green walnuts. Its preparation is shrouded in an aura of mystery (as is the walnut tree), linked to witches and nighttime.

Its origins are uncertain; it’s known that several countries in Europe used walnut liqueurs, and nocino was probably introduced to the Modena area from France. An ancient Roman document cites a population from Brittany drinking, on June 24, “a dark walnut liqueur from the same cup.” When the Romans switched to Christianity, June 24 became the night of St. John the Baptist.

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