ERROR: http://www.winecountry.it/articles/wine-history-and-culture/593

Query: SELECT data FROM Sessions WHERE id='1c949a9863820b681cba46f990598730'

 Errno: 1016
 Error: Can't open file: 'Sessions.MYI'. (errno: 145)
_SERVER data
    REMOTE_ADDR : 54.82.27.141
    REMOTE_PORT : 43354
SCRIPT_FILENAME : /usr/local/www/vhosts/winecountry.it/www/articles/index.php
 REQUEST_METHOD : GET
   QUERY_STRING : 
    REQUEST_URI : /articles/wine-history-and-culture/593

Warning: mysql_num_rows(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /usr/local/www/vhosts/winecountry.it/www/includes/functions_sessions.php on line 25

Warning: session_start(): Cannot send session cookie - headers already sent by (output started at /usr/local/www/vhosts/winecountry.it/www/includes/class_mysql.php:111) in /usr/local/www/vhosts/winecountry.it/www/includes/functions_sessions.php on line 10

Warning: session_start(): Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /usr/local/www/vhosts/winecountry.it/www/includes/class_mysql.php:111) in /usr/local/www/vhosts/winecountry.it/www/includes/functions_sessions.php on line 10

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /usr/local/www/vhosts/winecountry.it/www/includes/class_mysql.php:111) in /usr/local/www/vhosts/winecountry.it/www/phpfunctions/bannerheaders.php on line 15

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /usr/local/www/vhosts/winecountry.it/www/includes/class_mysql.php:111) in /usr/local/www/vhosts/winecountry.it/www/phpfunctions/bannerheaders.php on line 44

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /usr/local/www/vhosts/winecountry.it/www/includes/class_mysql.php:111) in /usr/local/www/vhosts/winecountry.it/www/phpfunctions/bannerheaders.php on line 73

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /usr/local/www/vhosts/winecountry.it/www/includes/class_mysql.php:111) in /usr/local/www/vhosts/winecountry.it/www/phpfunctions/bannerheaders.php on line 103
WineCountry.it: All you want to know about Italian wine: WineCountry.it Article

The Myth of Fernet:
The saga of Fernet, and its cultlike popularity, says a lot about San Francisco – Part 5 of 8
Nate Cavalieri - December 22, 2005

Fernet-Branca"Part of the reason no one has ever been able to replicate it," says Cattani, "is because you can't just get all the ingredients in one area. It comes from around the world."

Count Niccolo Branca oversees the process today. Fermented for a year in oak barrels and then bottled in Milan, the mixture arrives here in cases of six green 750-milliliter containers filled with liquid that looks black through the glass of the bottle, deep brown in a shot glass, and slightly green in the light. It leaves an oily coating in the glass, a permanent stain on clothing, and has to be scrubbed out of white linoleum and the drinker's teeth.

"When people asking me what is in the Fernet-Branca," Destesano says, nearly shouting, "I tell them life!"

Novare serbando (Renew but conserve)
Branca Products motto,
1850
 

The most trustworthy story of Fernet-Branca's creation in 1845 is traced to a home that still sits on a street named Corso di Porta Nuova in Milan. Just before the bloody regional revolt against Austria that unified Italy, self-taught herbalist Bernardino Branca, the great-great-grandfather of Count Niccolo Branca, brewed a new amaro (a bitter digestive liqueur) and, after testing it on his family, went into business selling it with his three sons -- Luigi, Giuseppe, and Stephano -- and Stephano's savvy wife, Maria Scala.

The name 'Fernet' itself was invented then, too, an exotic moniker that loosely implies the use of a "clean iron" in the distillation process, which has since been used for knockoffs like Luxardo Fernet Amaropad and Fernet Stock.

The first adverts in local political papers boasted of a "febrifuge, vermifuge, tonic, anti-choleric, warming pick-me-up" that could be mixed with everything from vermouth to animal broth. Scala wisely marketed it to women to ease menstrual discomfort (until 1913, only women were depicted drinking it in advertisements), but it was also lauded to aid digestion, impede nervous irritation, stimulate the appetite, treat troubles of the "splean," cure anxiety, quell stomach aches and headaches, and arrest the effects of old age.

Fernet-BrancaAnd the lie spread like wildfire. During the period of shaky near-science at the mid-1840s, old Bernardino's secret concoction of herbs and spices -- which was first credited to a fictional long-lived Swede named Dr. Fernet Svedese and later a clandestine sect of friars from a remote alpine hermitage -- became one of the most successful products in pre-unification Italy. During a time when bloodletting was common and antibiotics were unheard-of, Fernet-Branca -- with its peculiar alcohol kick and heady dose of opiates -- was a certain miracle cure. In stark contrast to the draconian warnings of our modern-day surgeons general, it was widely endorsed by doctors. Some even stocked it in their hospitals.

Popularized by clever advertising -- iconic images of Romanesque women, colorful jesters, and the euphoric alligator (an animal famed for its great digestive abilities) -- Fernet went global. At the turn of the century, Italian illustrator Leopoldo Metlicovitz designed the logo that still graces the bottle: a land-and-water globe under an eagle whose talons clutch the miracle bottle, delivering Italy's "gift to the world" to every continent. The drink came to the United States in the suitcases of Italian immigrants, finding a home in the Italian wards of San Francisco, New York City, Baltimore, and Detroit, as well as those throughout Central and South America.

Source: SF Weekly – ©2005 SF Weekly


HomeGeneral IndexContact UsSearchNewsAbout UsSite Map


Feedback? Please, contact the web master.

Site Navigation

Article
Wine History and Culture


Quick Links





La e-Letter di
WineCountry.IT

Sign up for WineCountry.IT e-letter to keep up to date with news and information about Italian wines and food.


Italian version of WineCountry.it


WineCountry.it Gold Medal


WineCountry.it vertical logo

   

ERROR: http://www.winecountry.it/articles/wine-history-and-culture/593

Query: REPLACE INTO Sessions VALUES ('1c949a9863820b681cba46f990598730', '', null)

 Errno: 1016
 Error: Can't open file: 'Sessions.MYI'. (errno: 145)
_SERVER data
    REMOTE_ADDR : 54.82.27.141
    REMOTE_PORT : 43354
SCRIPT_FILENAME : /usr/local/www/vhosts/winecountry.it/www/articles/index.php
 REQUEST_METHOD : GET
   QUERY_STRING : 
    REQUEST_URI : /articles/wine-history-and-culture/593