Turning Green Walnuts into Nocino, Liqueur de Noix
One of the many things I love about Europe is how there is a reason and a season for everything. In France and Italy, June is the month for making a fortified wine with green walnuts – Liqueur de Noix (French) or Nocino (Italian). Intended as a digestive, this drink is strong at roughly 30% alcohol. The sweeter, and less alcoholic, version is called vin de noix. The vin de noix is served either as an aperitif (like a sherry) or as an after-dinner drink.
The recipe found below is straightforward. However, it requires a bit of advance planning as green walnuts are only available for a short period. And, according to some the best ones are picked on June 24th – the Fête de St Jean. The walnut is associated with Saint Jean the Baptist the Jewish preacher who baptized Jesus in the River Jordan. His feast day is June 24th, a holiday celebrated in France, Italy, Spain and the Canadian province of Quebec. It’s also the day to collect (or buy) green walnuts and begin making this liqueur.