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Liquers of Italy: Liquore Strega

One of Italy's largest selling liquers, Strega has been produced in Benevento since 1860.  As the story goes,  Giuseppe Alberti found monks from the town who made this liquor.  He eventually coaxed the secret recipe from them and started to produce it as Alberti Medical Elixer.  It did not sell.  So he renamed it to Strega (witch's love potion).  Strega is a delicate liquer with digestive qualities.  It is made up of a number of herbs such as mint, fennel, and saffron (the world's most expensive spice) which gives it a bright yellow color. Only two people left in the world have this secret recipe.  They better not drink too much of this and forget the recipe, because it is 80 proof (as much as hard alcohol like gin, vodka or whiskey).  

For over 40 years, the Società Strega has given out one of the most prestigious literary awards. This prize is awarded each year to a recently published Italian novel judged to be of particular merit by a jury of over 400 authors, journalists, actors and other prominent personalities. Almost all major Italian authors, people such as Moravia, Soldati, Bassani, Pavese and others have received this significant distinction.  

The same company that makes Strega also makes Torrone, which is honey, egg whites, herbs, and roasted almonds.

Another piece of trivia for those who read the original The Godfather novel by Mario Puzo, when Tom Hagen has the unpleasant task of telling Don Coreleone that his son Sonny has been ambushed and killed, he is found in the den drinking Strega in order to calm his nerves before he gives the tragic news to the Godfather.


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