This little bottle may just be our favorite find of the year...
The Amarena of Cantiano is the wild black cherry of the Marche region of Italy. It's a tiny dark red cherry with lots of juice and a rich, sweet pulp. For years, we've sold them in jars with the thick syrup and customers would often call for ideas on how they could use this incredibly tasty by-product after the cherries were gone. We always had great ideas at the ready.
However, when we first tasted the Amarena cherries from Morello Austera, something was different. The cherries themselves were delicious - plump, tart and perfectly sweet - but the syrup was something special. When we found out that Igor and Silvia of Morello Austera were bottling the syrup alone we jumped at the chance to bring it to you!
The fresh juice of the Amarena cherries is cooked down with sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, clove and a swirl of almond oil. We've been drizzling this luxurious syrup on poundcake, ice cream, yogurt, fresh ricotta, pancakes and we could go on and on! We love stirring a tablespoon or two into a simple pan sauce for pork chops or duck breast - a little shallot, some red wine to deglaze, some stock, the syrup and a knob of butter.
We have also been making some delicious cocktails. It's very friendly with bourbon - try a splash in an Old Fashioned. A teaspoon in the bottom of a champagne flute with Prosecco or sparkling wine makes a gorgeous and elegant apertif.