Walnuts/Noci

We have a beautiful walnut tree in our front garden that provides hours of entertainment for our boys and the neighbours’ kids. They love to swing on the branches, play knights under its shade and generally hang out under the umbrella of foliage. 

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I am often out front seeing people coming and going up the path where the walnut tree hangs over and this month I have seen a lot of the oldies hanging around. At first I thought they were wondering what games the boys were playing and then it dawned on me they were after the noci! Alex pulled one off the tree and cracked it open a few weeks ago then palmed it off to me saying it wasn’t very nice (it wasn’t, still a bit young) however, more and more are dropping on the ground and I am finding fewer and fewer to eat myself!

Yesterday I was out front with our landlady, she is very patient with me and encourages me to talk Italian with her which is great. As we were talking about the roses in the garden she started looking under the sage bush which is under the walnut tree. She was looking for nuts for us the crack. At first I wasn’t very enthusiastic because I don’t really like raw nuts but then I decided I’d give it another go. As you can see the ‘walnut rock’ below has had quite a few visitors breaking open their own noci and all I had to find was a smaller rock suitable to use as a hammer…

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A few quick bangs and the tough shell smashed revealing a perfect looking walnut. The one I ate yesterday tasted nothing like anything I have eaten before. The nut was so fresh I actually thought it was roasted. The flavour was beautiful and extremely moorish

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Now I completely understand why I see old men casually hanging out under the three walnut trees around our village, they are looking for their own stash of nuts. To roast them would be a crime and I don’t say that lightly. I love roasted walnuts with a coating of honey, cumin, rosemary and salt, however, fresh from the tree is the biggest treat of all and the next time you see a few old Italians hanging around a walnut tree, go over say hi and try to get to the noci first because I bet they will fight you for them! Image

10 thoughts on “Walnuts/Noci

  1. I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of a fresh-off-the-tree walnut. Must try to find some!

    I always think the best thing about walnuts is the fact that they look sort of like the human brain and you can use one to drone on endlessly about neuroanatomy to your children over what should be a simple snack, but coating them in honey and spices sounds like it might be a more popular option!

  2. How interesting! I haven’t had that pleasure either, mind you I’m not a big fan of nuts but make exceptions for walnuts & hazlenuts, esp in chocolate or gelato!
    Life sounds rather communal with different generations passing by and using the tree for different reasons – sounds so much nicer than our suburbs with the elderly locked away in retirement villages & nursing homes.

  3. We had a walnut tree in the car park at Posh Nosh. If we were quick we could hunt and gather but over night our Italian friends would strip the tree!! Walnuts are also yummy pickled when they are green, use them on a platter with meats and cheese. We were lucky enough to visit a walnut farm near Bright in Victoria, managed to bring home bags of them. Just love them coated in toffee and served in a garden salad.

  4. You stirred a gorgeous memory. My first trip to Italy included a day trip to my grandparents home town called Faeto. It was a chilly autumn day and there was this “oldie” out cracking walnuts on her stoop. Somehow my brother communicated to her he wanted to buy a bag, and she obliged. One nut in the bag wasn’t cracked, and it sits on a shelf in my kitchen where it has been for the last 10 years…they were delicious, and I am certain that old lady’s parents played with my grandparents on those same cobblestone streets!

  5. Not my favorite nuts but they do look so fresh and good. great tree for the boys. Especially after mainly apartmnet living

  6. Hi lovely Camilla. Thinking of you as we eat ‘Alex Baker’ cake!!! Just made your banana cake and it is almost gone. Thanks for the inspiration to bake. Loving your posts and hearing your news. Sending you love on your adventure. I think you are doing amazing. Keep cooking. Keep exploring. Keep learning. All a fantastic experience. Wish I could be there for a bowl of pasta and a chat and an all important glass of vino. Kisses from Sydney. Xxxx ps Max says hi to Alex

  7. Lovely article all about the wonderful walnut tree. We have a couple just below us in the olive grove and the fallen nuts are thoroughly enjoyed by both deer and cingialle! We have yet to get serious about harvesting them properly. More time and energy is needed!

  8. Pingback: Marmellata di cachi, noci e mele cotogne [Persimmon, nuts and quince jam] | {LaCaccavella}

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