[Thoughts on the Table – 88] Chinotto – The Other Way of Drinking Dark


This episode is dedicated to the soft drink Chinotto and it’s unusual in that, for once, I am not in the company of a guest (although I’d like to think that I still have a guest: you, the listener!)

In this episode, I try to break down Chinotto – from my memory of sipping it for the first time, to its presence while I was growing up in Italy, to the origin of its name, its flavor, and especially of its bitterness!

BTW, I’d really like to know… What is your experience with Chinotto? Have you tasted it? Do you love it as I do? Do you think it might not be as bitter as you remember it?

Paolo Rigiroli

Author: Paolo Rigiroli

Now based in the UK, Paolo is an Italian who lived in Canada for nearly 18 years and blogs about Italian food and its many aberrations.

2 thoughts on “[Thoughts on the Table – 88] Chinotto – The Other Way of Drinking Dark”

  1. My first awareness of Chinotto was in Helena Attlee’s charming book “The Land Where Lemons Grow”, where there is a whole chapter on the citrus tree. She describes its centuries-long cultivation in Liguria, its uses, and the introduction of the bitter-sweet soft drink in the 1930s. After a devastating freeze in the 1950s, growers and makers switched to the fruits of a different tree, one I knew as a specimen at our local botanical garden in Tucson.
    This fixed it in my memory. I like bitter herbal digestivi, so when I saw Chinotto in a salumeria fridge in Ortigia a couple of years ago, I had to try one. I was hooked. I never drink soda, but for the next several weeks, this was my (midday) beverage of choice whenever I saw it for sale. If I were to attempt a citrus tree in my garden, it might just be Citrus aurantium var. myrtifolia (with the hope that it is tougher than the potted lime tree I fuss over all year round). Loved this podcast!

    1. Thanks so much, Mark! This complements my research with a much-needed note on the introduction of this drink to the market. You’re absolutely right that if you like bitter “digestive” liqueurs (amari, in Italian), you probably also appreciate Chinotto a great deal. Thanks so much for listening and for the feedback!

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