The jujubes of Arquà Petrarca
Going into juju, in Arquà is not just a figure of speech!
Arquà, the village of Jujube.
Walking through the streets of Arquà Petrarca, one is surprised to admire the presence of Jujube in every garden. Although it is a rare plant elsewhere, the Jujube finds its ideal environment in this village, so much so that it is included in the national list of traditional food products of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. An ornamental plant, in September and October its branches become covered with small, delicious brownish fruits that can be munched as soon as they are picked or used in cooking.
Jujubes, small, sweet pearls
In addition to being very good, jujubes are also healthy. Rich in vitamin C, these fruits are known for their diuretic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties. This is well known by the inhabitants of Arquà Petrarca who use them in the production of decoctions, jams, chocolates, jellies and zaèti, products unique to the area. Also famous is jujube broth, an alcoholic infusion of autumn fruits that has become a true Arquà specialty.
October is celebrated
In the heart of autumn, the season for the ripening and harvesting of jujubes, Arquà Petrarca dedicates a festival to the fruit that identifies its territorial distinctiveness. On the first two Sundays of October, the medieval atmosphere comes alive with the Jujube Festival, during which figurants in period costume, including Francesco Petrarca and Laura, enliven the streets of the ancient village. In addition, markets, craft workshops and food stands offer an opportunity to learn about local products.
Not everyone knows that the expression "going into jujubes," used to indicate a state of boundless happiness, was already present in the first edition of the Vocabolario della Crusca in 1612 and indicated "to enjoy much chicchessia." This expression may have been derived from the similar Tuscan expression "andare in brodo di succiole" (chestnuts boiled in water with the rind on) and which later became "to go into jujubes!"
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