Vin de Noix and Nocino

Vin de Noix and Nocino

Kathryn Hill
Aug 14, 2008

One weekend back in May, we saw unripe, young green walnuts at the Alemany Farmer's Market. We snatched up a bunch so we could make vin de noix, or green walnut wine.

Good thing we did, too; the green walnuts were gone in a matter of hours. We didn't see them again the following week, or for the rest of the season. Infusing unripe green walnuts in alcohol is a popular pastime in Italy and France. In Italy, it's called nocino and usually has grated orange peel and cloves added to it; in France, it's called vin de noix and is a simple blend of eau de vie, red wine, and sugar. The green walnuts must be infused when they're still soft enough to stick a needle through. In Europe, they're usually harvested in June, but in California, their availability comes a month earlier.

The resulting liqueur is thick and sweet, with a very rich and spicy flavor. It's best enjoyed during cold weather, as it's quite warming.

More reading on green walnut infusions:

(Image: Anita at Married ... with Dinner)

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