Amaro Obsession


In our journey we have met many regions of Italy with very few Amari in their current productions, although in the past have had important productions to characterize them, one of these is certainly Molise. When we talk about Molise on the table we often get to declaim the goodness of its most typical cheeses, its meats and its tasty sausages and its wines. It seems to have been forgotten, however, its tradition in liqueurs and spirits that were also appreciated in the last century by many fans. The Amaro alle Erbe, the Nocino, the Poncio and its derivatives are still valuable productions made by companies from Molise that many household producers who still try their hand at craftsmanship, often enriched by ingredients and secret procedures. The example comes from the Amaro Molisano, a liqueur obtained from 32 kinds of herbs, roots, vegetable substances and good taste alcohol, with recognized beneficial and digestive properties. Amaro Molisano is produced in a traditional way according to a traditional recipe, handed down orally from different generations but the procedure remains the classic one with maceration, filtering, aging and bottling. Then there is the Nocino, a sweet liqueur made from walnuts, with a brown color and a pungent aroma. According to the tradition present in some Molise municipalities, the best Nocino is produced by collecting walnuts to be used for its preparation on the day of the feast of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist (29 August). For its preparation you need: tasteful alcohol, green walnuts, sugar, water, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Once the walnuts are still green, they are cleaned and cut into four parts, infused with alcohol in a hermetically sealed glass container. The maceration, which lasts about 38 days, must take place exposing the product to the sun; at the end of the indicated period are added: cloves and optionally nutmeg. Everything is still kept in infusion for about 2 days. The subsequent processing consists in boiling the sugar dissolved in water, which, once cooled, is combined with the infusion; then it is filtered and bottled letting it rest for about a month, ready for consumption. No dyes, additives and preservatives are added. For the most delicate tastes there is also the Liqueur with Milk or Milk Liqueur, handcrafted (preferably) with the good milk of the Molise pastures, alcohol, sugar and natural flavors make this product a specialty of Campobasso making it a original and exclusive product. The original recipe dates back to 1840: the natural aromas are macerated in alcohol and the infusion is combined with milk, following a technique handed down from generation to generation, then it is filtered and bottled. No additives and preservatives are added. It is possible to trace its semi-industrial production through the advertising posters created by Lucien Achille Mauzan (one of the forerunners of advertising) in 1923 in which it is referred to as “Crema Milk” as a characteristic product of Campobasso. In addition there are certificates of participation in exhibitions and competitions, among which it deserves to be mentioned, the “Grand Prize Diploma” and the gold medal obtained for the participation of a well-known company from Campobasso, with the “Crema Milk”, at the Exhibition of industrial, food and complaints products, organized within the sphere of the “Commemorative Festivals of Rome 1911”. Finally, space at the Poncio, a sweet liqueur based on vegetable aromas, with its dark color due to burnt sugar. Even for the Poncio, the production is performed with absolute fidelity compared to the original recipe dating back to 1840. In alcohol are put to macerate the natural aromas (citrus peel and various spices) together with the burnt sugar; when the mixture has reached the typical organoleptic characteristics, it is filtered and bottled. The name “Poncio”, a purely Italian term, is due to the prohibition imposed by fascism on the use of foreign language names and terms. Also for this product advertising posters were made in 1923 by Lucien Achille Mauzan. There is also a coffee-flavored variety: in this case the citrus peel, separated from the white part, subtly cut, together with the ground coffee beans, are placed in a hermetically sealed glass container covering them with alcohol. Everything is left to infuse for about 4 days. Separately, boil water with sugar until half-life is reached. The sugar is caramelized separately. The latter joins the sugared water when it is still boiling, it mixes and gets cooled; then it is poured into alcohol, filtered and bottled.

Matteo Zed