Morello: pretty please, with a cherry on top!
The morello cherry, also known in English as griotte (its French name), is the best-known variety of sour cherries. Its scientific name, Prunus Cerasus, distinguishes it from its sweeter cousin, Prunus Avium, both of which are the earliest summer fruits to ripen. The morello cherry, which originated in The Caucasus and Eastern Europe, was brought to Southern and Western Europe via the Greeks or Romans, with the latter claiming that the great General Lucullus introduced it in Italy from Cerasus (known today as Giresun), a Turkish city on the Black Sea, whence its Latin name Cerasium (ciliegia in Italian, cereza in Spanish and cerise in French). Others claim that the cherry was known in Asia three millennia ago and was consumed in Greece and Gaul way before the Romans knew about it. Notwithstanding its origins, the morello was the most desired cherry in Europe in Medieval times, consumed at the beginning of meals as an appetizer, in soups (as is still the case in Eastern Europe) and used to make the famous Dalmatian drink maraska or maraschino, which is also the name of the sugared cherry often used as a dessert topping! The morello cherry continues to be one of the most versatile fruits, used to make desserts, jams and alcoholic drinks such as kirsch, but also in savory in vegetarian, meat and fish recipes.