Chinotto is a small and bitter tasting fruit of citrus nature. It is usually found growing in different regions of Italy which include Malta, Tuscany, Sicily and Calabria. Commonly known as the myrtle leaved orange tree, the chinotto tree grows up to three meters in height. Citrus aurantium or Citrus myrtifolia is the botanical name for chinotto. The drink prepared from the fruit is also known as the chinotto and is dark in color resembling the cocoa cola in hue but not in taste which is substantially more bitter than the popular cola drink. The chinotto recipe becomes important during blending of bitters in Italy. A variety of Amaris or the popular Campari Aperitif requires the bitter fruit for its flavoring. The drinks made from this particular citrus fruit is usually served before a meal as its bitter sweet taste refreshes the palate thus allowing the flavors of the other dishes that are served during the main meal to come to the forefront.
History Of Chinotto Recipe
The name chinotto comes from the Chinese word where the fruit is believed to have been originated. The history behind the chinotto recipe is not documented although San Pellegrino is credited to have discovered the use for chinotto in 1932. Capranica Viterbo or Neri also claims to have marketed the fruit based drink first in 1949. Recoaro was one of the best selling chinotto drinks back in the 1950s.
Popular Chinotto Recipe
A number of non alcoholic drinks are prepared by following the chinotto recipe which have been around since the fifties. They were traditionally manufactured by Italian producers having small establishments. The carbonated water giants San Pellegrino have tied up with Nestle and started producing the drink commercially. It is marketed under the brand name chinos by the company while the Cocoa Cola company markets it as Fanta Chinotto.
Some of the most popular chinotto drinks enjoyed by people all over the world are:-
• Amaro- An Italian herbal liqueur or bitter makes use of the fruit along with various herbs, roots and flowers mixed with alcohol. • Campari- An aperitif obtained by infusing herbs and chinotto in a mixture of alcohol and water.
• Kinnie- A soft drink originally produced in Malta, Italy having a biter sweet flavor obtained by use of chinotto oranges. • Brio- A branded drink of Canada produced from the myrtle orange.
• Il Diavolo- A cocktail made from combining tequila chinotto soada, lime juice and crème de cassis.
• Della Mela- A traditional Italian cocktail created by mixing the bitter citrus fruit soda along with Benedictine and apple brandy.
Nutritional Facts about Chinotto
The fruit is rich in vitamin C along with a host of minerals. However, the commercially produced drinks are often carbonated and use preservatives which can be high in sodium. The number of empty calories is increased in the commercial version of the fruit based drink due to the addition of artificial sweeteners which attempt to reduce the bitter after taste of the fruit.
The chinotto tree is often used for landscaping purposes.