Tuscan Taste

Chinotto: The Hidden Gem of the Ligurian Coast

Nestled along the picturesque Ligurian coast, amidst the rolling hills of Savona, lies a citrus treasure with roots tracing back to ancient China—the Chinotto fruit. Exclusive to this coastal enclave since the late 19th century, Chinotto captivates with its diminutive size and captivating fragrance.

Originally revered for its candied allure, preserved in maraschino and steeped in sea water brine, Chinotto took a pivotal turn in the 1930s with the debut of the first Chinotto soda, its true progenitor shrouded in mystery.

While its popularity waned in the mid-20th century, Chinotto experienced a renaissance in the new millennium, finding favor once more, particularly in mixology circles where it lends its distinctive flavor to classic cocktails.

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Photo: flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/

With its charmingly retro bottles adorning the shelves of local dairy shops and cafes, Chinotto stands as a testament to timeless taste. Its thirst-quenching effervescence, delicately bitter notes, and irreplicable essence defy imitation, earning it a special place in the hearts of aficionados.

In 2012, Chinotto faced a perilous threat as the Italian Government sought to reclassify it as a mere “sparkling soda with sugar“. However, thanks to a groundswell of support and a resounding vote for flavor, Chinotto emerged victorious, preserving its rightful identity.

Since 2004, Chinotto fruits have been safeguarded under the aegis of the Slow Food Presidium—a testament to their cultural and culinary significance. Among the select few upholding this tradition is Piedmontese Lurisia, crafting Chinotto sodas infused with the essence of authentic citrus fruits and the pristine waters of the region.

As Chinotto continues to enchant palates and evoke memories of seaside splendor, its legacy endures as a cherished emblem of Ligurian gastronomy—a hidden gem waiting to be discovered along the sun-kissed shores of the Mediterranean.

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