You can easily find Coca Cola and Coca Cola Light [Diet Coke] in Italy, but there’s another fizzy brown drink that gets a lot of attention in il bel paese. Although it does contain sugar, a bottle of Chinotto is best known for its aspro [tart] flavor notes, thanks to its namesake ingredient: the chinotto fruit.
The chinotto plant is Citrus myrtifolia, often translated as myrtle-leaf orange or sour orange. The fruit resemble oranges and are about the size of a clementine, but their flavor is amarognolo [slightly bitter] rather than dolce [sweet]. Imported to Italy in the 1500s, the fruit became popular in candied or preserved forms before being rebranded in soft drink format during the 1950s.
You can find several brands of fizzy chinotto drink for sale in Italy. Particularly around the region of Liguria, you might also find a pasticceria [cake shop] that sells amaretti al chinotto [chinotto almond cookies], chinotti canditi [candied chinotto], or a wonderful chinotto-jam cookie covered in chocolate ganache called Letizia al chinotto [chinotto joy]…
If this is the kind of learning you like to do, pick up a copy of Italian Through Food!