Veneto’s shelled walnuts come from the walnut tree, which grows spontaneously in America, Europe, Asia and in the Balkans. It was introduced into Europe between the 7th and the 5th centuries B.C. and into America in the 17th century by English colonists. This kind of plant can be found in almost all countries with a mild climate. Nowadays, California is the best producer of walnuts.
The walnut tree is vigorous, because it can be 20 metres tall, and long-lived, because there are centennial specimens. It can also be found in Italy. In Campania, the most widespread varieties are Sorrento and Malizia walnuts; they’re highly valued because of their qualitative and organoleptic features.
The Romans used a lot of walnut wood, which is firm and very refined in cabinetry.
Furthermore, it seems that in ancient Rome walnuts were given to the future groom on his wedding day as a symbol of union.
Walnuts are very energizing, high in proteins and monounsaturated fats, as well as minerals like calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. They favour vital functions thanks to zinc, which improves vitamin activity, and lower cholesterol thanks to unsaturated fatty acids. They also help to strengthen the bones.
This kind of fruit is loved in the kitchen because it’s extremely versatile: from the famous walnut butter used in first courses to the delicious cakes, from stuffings to pesto, it’s a great ingredient to enrich any culinary creation. Walnuts can be eaten raw as a healthy snack or can be chocolate-dipped to enjoy a mouth-watering delicacy. Finally, a peculiar liqueur called nocino derives from walnut husks.