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Introduction to Chinotto Citrus Fruit

Chinotto is a type of citrus fruit that is widely consumed in Italy and other parts of the Mediterranean. Specific to this delectable fruit is its sweetness and low acidity, making it particularly popular amongst food-lovers from the mentioned countries. It is also an ingredient often used in Italian drinks and foods, such as aperitif and various desserts.

Origin of Chinotto

The citrus fruit has an interesting and very old Italian heritage tracing back all the way to the pre-Roman era. It is said to be originated in modern-day Algeria, in North Africa, somewhere in the VIII century, migrating to the Mediterranean basin. Through trade, the Chinotto, or “petit caturla” as they called it, was spread around the areas of Liguria and Tuscany.

The plant quickly took root and began to rise in popularity. Growing these trees is a rather easy task, with blossoms and fruits’ harvest in late fall. Since then, the chinotto has been an indispensable part of the culture and tradition in both of the mentioned regions.

Genus and Species

This citrus fruit belongs to the Rutaceae family, along with other of its family members, such as: orange, lemon, lime and tangerine, to name a few. These fruits are called “citrus” or “citrus aurantium” and all come from the mentioned family.

Within it, the chinotti is part of the “citrus reshni” which are of a particular species and include the variety “Citrus aurantium ssp aurantium”.

The Appearance of Chinotto

This fruit may strike you as a miniature orange. It is, actually, of a much smaller size than our conventional oranges, being, in fact, oval shaped, like them. It bears no resemblance though to its orange relatives, with the skin varying from yellow to more reddish shades. The skin is also slightly rough and quite thick, making it tougher than other kinds of its relatives.

The inside of the fruit is juicy and filled with large, abundant seeds like small beads. The dust which forms inside the skin is also noticeably orange.

Chinotto two

The Taste of Chinotto

This fruit has an odd, particular and delicious taste. It is very sweet and low in acid, making it an excellent refreshment for almost any taste. Many Italian chefs endorse this fruit for its excellent flavor and aroma, which even can compete with its orange relatives.

Chinotto has an interesting flavor, which some describe as acerola and quince combined, if eaten as a fresh fruit. As for its applications, it is often combined with other ingredients to create refreshing drinks and dishes.

Chinotto as an Ingredient

The Chinotto may be prepared in several ways. The most traditional way of consuming this citrus is as a family-sized “Chinotto”. It is used as a base in many Italian aperitifs, such as Negroni and Campari, to give it some of the refreshing features the citrus possesses.

It is also used in several Italian desserts, such as those ones made with yogurt or cakes. The fruit may also combined with other ingredients such as grapefruit and orange peel to makes a refreshing juice, commonly known as “Caffè Chinotto” or “Chinotto di portofino”, among other name variations.

Health Benefits of Chinotto

The consumption of Chinotto is advocated by many nutritionists, as it is highly beneficial for our health. Being a citrus fruit, it is rich in vitamin C, making it an excellent way of preventing vitamin deficiency.

Chinotto is also said to have many antioxidant compounds that make it an excellent protector against several diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. With the combination of its low acidity and its high receptiveness to sun, it represents a wonderful natural source of vitamin C.


Chinotto is a type of citrus fruit with a long and interesting heritage in Italy and other Mediterranean countries. it is characterized by its sweetness, low acidity, and intense flavor and aroma. This citrus fruit can be eaten fresh or used as an ingredient in Italian delicacies such as aperitif or various desserts. Chinotto also offers many health benefits, such as antioxidant, anti-disease, and vitamin C content, making it a wonderful fruit for health and enjoyment.

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