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Cantiano Sour Cherry

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Known as “visciolo”, or “black cherry” or “sour cherry tree” (Prunus cerasus, var. “Austera”) is a small plant native to Eastern Europe and the Middle East,
in particular from Armenia and the Caucasus: it is believed that it was imported by the Roman soldier Lucio Licino Lucullo on his return after the third mithridatic war in 65 BC. He had allegedly who picked a plant and then transplanted it into his garden of in Rome.

Its fruits, bright red, and quite sour when raw, are usually eaten cooked or used for syrups, preserves, and jams.

In many parts of Italy, this plant grows spontaneously, especially in steep, hilly, clayey and calcareous soils, as well as in vegetable gardens and parks. For example, it is very common in the Marche countryside, so much so that it has been included in the local register of traditional agri-food products. In particular, it can be found in Pesaro hinterland, at the foot of Mount Catria, and, above all, around Cantiana.

At the beginning of the XX century, two entrepreneurs began to market their “Amarena di Cantiano”, a compote of sour cherries preserved in sugary syrup, which proved very successful. Following the old tradition, the cherries, deprived of the stalks, are calibrated through a sieve, pitted, cooked in their liquid with the addition of sugar, and finally bottled.
Cantiano Amarena has also been acknowledged as a “Slow Food Presidium”.

In Cantiano, in particular, Morello Austera farm, owned by Igor and Ivan Lupatelli, cultivates some 10 acres of “visciolo” and transform the fruits into sour cherries to be used in syrups and jams.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


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