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.
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…
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
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!