Brodo di Giuggiole

The liqueur that bewitched even Ulysses

by Lavinia Colonna Preti
Brodo di Giuggiole — Veneto Secrets

A beautiful medieval town nestled along the Euganean Hills in the province of Padua, Arquà Petrarca is famous not only for the house-museum of Francesco Petrarca, writer, poet, first humanist in history, but also for an original drink, an all-Venetian uniqueness: the Brodo di Giuggiole (Jujube Broth).

The jujube boasts a fascinating history: a shrub of Asian origin, it was imported to Italy by the Romans and then spread by the Venetians who loved its sweet nectar so much that it gave life to the expression “to go in jujube broth” that in Italian means “to be very happy”. A fruit loved since the times of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, so much so that it is thought that the “fruit of the lotus” mentioned in the Odyssey, which caused the men of Ulysses who landed on the island of the Lotophages to lose their memory, could actually be a wild jujube.

Thanks to the Mediterranean climate and the extraordinary biodiversity that characterizes the Euganean Hills, this plant found a perfect environment in these areas, so much so that it spread very quickly both as an ornamental plant and to be used in the kitchen.

Brodo di Giuggiole — Veneto Secrets

In fact, the families of the area have handed down for generations the recipe of the “Arquà broth” based on jujubes which, thanks to a traditional infusion process, give life to a sweet liqueur with a characteristic red color. Its diffusion up to the present day is due in particular to Bepi Scarpon, nickname of Giuseppe Callegaro, who in the 1950s began a real rescue of many jujube trees in the territory of Arquà Petrarca, sacrificed in those years to make room for much more productive olive groves, consequently starting an artisanal line of products based on this plant.

Thanks to the love of Bepi’s grandsons, Alessandro and Alberto, for these lands, the Giuggiole broth was rediscovered and perfected in the years 2006-7. Just think that the original recipe is explained in the famous “Encyclopedia della Crusca”, the first vocabulary of the Italian language, dated back to 1612. According to this, autumn fruits must be used, such as jujubes, but also quinces, grapes and pomegranates, and then infused in alcohol for a few months. The mixture is then filtered and, after bringing the alcohol content to 24°C, bottled.

Today the Scarpon Farm is the only true producer of the original Giuggiule broth from Arquà Petrarca, custodian of the ancient recipe of this unique nectar that the Callegaro family distributes and makes known all over the world.

Why you will love it
For its original red color and sweet taste with a scent of jujube and a hint of hazelnut flavor.

Where to taste it
Book a tasting session at the Scarpon farm, perhaps during the Giuggiola Festival held every year in October.

The perfect pairing
For an aperitif or cocktail just mix it with Prosecco or Orange Blossom water, or serve it as a source for a tasty red meat second course.

Further info
Brodo di Giuggiole

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