Thursday, April 16, 2015
A SIP OF LIQUORE STREGA
I grew up in a large Sicilian family (my grandparents/family arrived through Ellis Island in 1920). Sunday dinners were filled with delicious food, homemade wine, and a bit of small talk about the local Stregas (Italian witches) that resided in most small villages of the Mediterranean Island.
Italy has a history of tolerance for their 'wise women' more than other European countries, especially during the Inquisition. They were respected members of the community known for their knowledge of nature, herbs and curatives.
The unique thing about Stregas is that they have their own liquore, the recipe known only to their kind, made in Benevento, Italy (City of Witches). Legend tells us there is a sacred walnut tree that keeps it's leaves all year long and the place Stregas would gather every full moon for a ritual.
Until 622 AD.
That's when Duke Arechi II of Benvento was said to willingly and happily partake in the monthly revelry among the witches. His angry wife told the local priest, who immediately cut down the tree and built a church on it's site, and made the Duke convert to Christianity. Although it's believed the Stregas tricked the priest and the true Walnut tree still stands well hidden in the Benevento forest.
If you look closely at the label you'll see the Stregas dancing under the tree.
That brings us to the Alberti family. One day Gisueppe Alberti and his brothers were foraging the woods of Benevento for herbs when they saved the life of a witch from a falling tree. In appreciation she gifted the brothers with the secret recipe. To this day the Alberti family is the only producer of Liquore Strega, the recipe is kept under lock and key and only a few family members are privy to its ingredients. The only known ingredient for sure is the Saffron that gives it its brilliant yellow hue.
But beware! Liquore Strega is a love potion that has the power to bewitch. Remember, "whomever you share a glass with you shall be forever united with."
A scary proposition, depending on who you are sipping the Strega with and the basis of a short story of mine, Choose Wisely.
Debbie Christiana writes paranormal romance, dark romantic fiction and short dark stories.
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