These summery green gems are the secret to my favorite winter elixir. Liqueur de Noix or Nocino as it’s called in Italy is at it’s finest during the holiday season and is truly amazing when drizzled over gelato or whisked into custard.
I followed David Lebovitz’s recipe here last year and it was a grand succès as well as deliciously addictive. The ingredients are simple: the not yet developed walnuts, sugar, vodka, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and lemon magically melded with the addition of time.
While searching for my libation’s origins I read that legend claims “that in order to make a ‘divine’ Nocino the walnuts should be picked during the night of the 23rd and the 24th of June by a barefooted virgin who should wait beneath a walnut tree and gather any green walnuts that fall to the ground. If the walnuts remain untouched by anyone but the virgin the nocino will remain pure. If anyone else touches the walnuts however, it will be corrupted. For this reason the night of the 23rd and the 24th of June is known as la notte delle Vergini Scalze (the night of the barefooted Virgins).”
Ok, so that’s in Italy, but in our area of Provence the walnuts are ready now and with sandals on my feet I’m dreaming of cooler weather, a crackling fire and the nutty sweet memory of this very summer’s day.