Nocino, Pickles, Preserves and Ketchup
June 19 – 20, 2021
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 plus meals. You are encouraged to arrive Friday after 4pm to get settled and relax before dinner. View accommodations here.