Image 0 - The Nocino

The Nocino

The Nocino, a liquor mainly made of green walnuts (in Italian Noce, thus the diminutive noun nocino), is the most widespread digestive liquor in the whole Italian part of Switzerland. The term nocino came about recently as previous this liquor was called ratafià, as is also shown by the material collected for the Vocabolario dei dialetti della Svizzera italiana (the dictionary of the dialects of the Italian part of Switzerland, approximately 1920), wherein this liquor made of walnuts is described under the entry ratafià, which also includes other liquors made with fruit, alcohol, sugar and aromatic substances and common within the Mediterranean area. Originally ratafià meant any and all beverages drunk to close or seal an agreement or deal.

The etymology stems back to the Latin expression rato fieri used by the ecclesiastic writers with the meaning “to be validated”. From here rata fiat: “to be ratified” and the ratafia, ratafiat, or the French ratifié.

(Written and photographed by The Swiss Culinary Heritage Association, www.patrimoineculinaire.ch)


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