Of all the gifts you may want from Italy, don’t underestimate the usefulness of a good bitter! After an abundant meal, you may need them. Among all the bitters to try, choose a Tuscan one. We tell you why.
Lucca tradition in a bottle
Lucca is a city with a long wine tradition: more than ten DOC wines are associated with its name. Therefore, it is not difficult to choose a good wine to bring to the table on Christmas evening, but what to drink at the end of the meal? The Lucca tradition offers several alternatives.
China Massagli is the ideal bitter to consume after the festive dinners. Its intense and refined flavor, slightly bitter at the end, comes from the maceration of the Cinchona bark combined with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Made for the first time in Lucca in 1855 by Dr. Pasquale Massagli, owner of the homonymous pharmacy in Piazza San Michele, it was used for several years as a digestive medicine. Too pleasant on the palate to remain just an elixir, today China Massagli is produced in about 50,000 liters per year, half destined for export.
If, on the other hand, you prefer a more fruity flavor, choose China Clementi, the Lucca par excellence and also, yes, created by the pharmacist whose name it bears. To achieve its typical full-bodied taste, bitterness requires two years of maceration and two main ingredients: cinchona and bitter oranges from the Mediterranean.
For lovers of more vigorous flavors, the Lucca tradition offers Biadina. Legend has it that this liqueur was born in the back room of the “Tista” grocery store, in Piazza San Michele: the owner Giambattista Nardini, who kept the bottoms of his liqueurs in a bowl, used to serve a taste to the merchants in the area, accompanying the offer with this refrain: “A little biada for the horse, a little biadina for the rider”. The liqueur born from that concoction is still so loved that it has become a symbol of the city.
Sure that you will want to taste the Lucca flavor par excellence, we just have to give you one last tip: drop a teaspoon of pine nuts on the bottom of your glass of bitter, which enhance the flavor. This is how, after all, tradition wants!