June 12 – 14, 2020
With Darcy Williamson
Walnut trees were famous for being sacred to witches due to their self-sufficient hermaphrodite qualities and their ability to weather the harshest elements, including drought, and still bear fruit. The nuts themselves were the pride of Rome and known as “Jupiter’s nuts,” which the gods (and wealthy Romans) dined upon while the common man ate acorns.
Nocino is an Italian liqueur made with green walnuts whose dark magical blend is delicious and warming the coming winter when it’s ready to be drunk.
Traditionally Nocino was made sometime during the witches’ Sabbath, the summer solstice and shortest night of the year – all in celebration of light’s battle over darkness. All magical and religious symbology aside, a mid-June start date is considered beneficial simply because it precedes the walnut moth caterpillar beginning its lifecycle and feasting on the soft kernels and husks. So, to stay ahead of the voracious walnut moth, we have set aside the weekend of June 16th for not only making the magical Nocino, but the delicious Pickled Green Walnuts, Green Walnut Preserves and Green Walnut Ketchup, as well. More about that later.
Traditionally the very best Nocino requires barefoot virgins gathering an uneven figure (21 or 23) of soft, green, dew-laden walnuts for the making of Nocino. Unfortunately, I think we may be a little shy of barefoot virgins, but we will certainly have an abundance of soft, green walnuts.
Traditionally Nocino mustn’t be tried before the 3rd of November to allow the liqueur to mellow before it is consumed. You can rest assured that by early November not only will the Nocino warm the spirit and fend off evil and bad spirits as dark nights close in, this elixir will also work a little of its magic on skin conditions such as acne and eczema, as well as sore throats.
Now, about those pickles and other condiments! We will be making Green Walnut Pickles and Armenian Green Walnut Preserves and Green Walnut Spiced Wine.
Like the Nocino, this weekend will just begin the process of these rich, unusual condiments…you’ll add the finishing touches at home. But during the weekend you will be amassing plenty of Nocino, pickles, preserves, and wine to take home to finish and share with family and friends…or not. Some folks don’t share at all.
Weekend includes Friday and Saturday night at Mavens’ Haven and Meals.
You are encouraged to come Friday before 4:00 PM to get settled into your accommodations and relax before dinner.
Coffee and tea in the main house will be ready by 7:30 A.M. Breakfast will be served at 9:00 A.M.
Lunch will be serves buffet style at noon, Saturday and Sunday. Evening meals will be served at 6:30 P.M. Friday and Saturday.
You may reserve your accommodations upon registration. View accommodations here.
To hold your space, please send your $50 deposit to Darcy Williamson, P.O. Box 4190, McCall, ID 83638. Please make out checks to From the Forest. To pay the deposit or the full amount online, click here.
To register, copy/paste the following and email to [email protected]
Accommodation first choice:
Food allergies or sensitivities:
Questions and general requests:
Darcy Williamson is a published author of numerous cookbooks, histories, herbals, fiction, and more. Head Maven at the Haven, we are fortunate when she decides to teach anything. We are really fortunate when it includes Nocino, a Haven favorite.