Inside Fernet Branca’s Factory in Milan, Italy

April 6th, 2011 · Tags: Behind the Scenes · Discovering Food · Italy

Today the New York Times posted a story about Count Niccolò Branca di Romanico – the leading royalty of the Fernet Branca‘s family dynasty and holder of the secret recipe for the Fernet Branca digestive that has achieved a cult status with waiters & bartenders in New York, San Francisco, and it’s spreading…

Did I forget to mention that Fernet Branca is headquartered in Milan, and that I have pictures from an exclusive tour I took of the factory? Non?

Here’s a sneak peek – if you’re interested in seeing more, let me know in the comments. Fernet lover? Hater? Don’t know what we’re talking about?

The picture below depicts a wheel of spices that go into the Fernet Branca secret recipe. So secret, in fact, that they readily admit many of the spices they display in the wheel are decoys and are not actually included in the final recipe. One ingredient they do confirm is saffron, as evidenced by that huge jar right in the center.

The 40 Spices in Fernet Branca, Fernet Branca Factory in Milan, Italy

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15 responses so far ↓

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  • 1
    Luca // Apr 6, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    I love Fernet Branca… I hate to admit it but I drink it daily and I rarely get sick… It is good and good for you!!

  • 2
    The Food Hunter // Apr 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    I’ve tried to like it but I just haven’t been able to acquire a taste for it

  • 3
    Michele C. // Apr 6, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Wow, would love to see more! Do they not normally let people take tours? I have been getting more into amari and digestivi with every year that passes here. I’ve discovered some lovely Calabrian amari.

  • 4
    LindyLouMac // Apr 7, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I cannot see the attraction either.

  • 5
    Kristen // Apr 7, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    I’ve read it described as a cross between medicine, crushed plants and bitter mud … not for me!

  • 6
    marcellina // Apr 8, 2011 at 3:44 am

    My father prescribed Fernet Branca for anything and everything. When I got married my home was “Fernet-less” and my father was excited to give me a gift – it was a bottle of Fernet Branca! I sorry but I can’t believe anyone actually drinks the stuff voluntarily! That bottle I still have 22 years later and is used by my husband to play jokes on his friends. I’m sure it’s good for you but I can’t get it past my lips!

  • 7
    rodney // Apr 8, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    I finally bought a bottle after seeing Anthony Bourdain enjoy it (in Turkey, I think)… yes, sad to admit. Anyway, I love Campari, which most people I know think tastes absolutely awful. Well… my first Fernet felt that way to me. And yet eventually I found myself buying a second bottle some time later.

  • 8
    Bethany // Apr 9, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Let’s just say I have no love for the stuff. However, after a few years in Italy, I’ve acquired a taste for Campari and Aperol, so anything’s possible…. though I doubt I’ll ever be glugging it into my coffee like the locals. ::shudders::

  • 9
    Nadette@Eat, Read, Rant! // Apr 10, 2011 at 6:39 am

    I don’t know what you’re talking about, but now I want to know more. Do tell!

  • 10
    Ms. Adventures in Italy // Apr 18, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    I will definitely be putting some more pictures up – but it looks like the majority of my readers are not fans, hehe. It is definitely an acquired Italian taste, like chinotto.

  • 11
    Ken Savino // Apr 20, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I have been drinking Fernet, since introduced to me by my family in Italy over thirty years ago. Never thought the strength of the U.S. version was quite as good. Add to an espresso or with a bit of hot water – great way to finish a big dinner!

  • 12
    Canary // Jun 11, 2011 at 6:16 am

    I LOVE Fernet!! But maybe it’s just cuz I’m in the SF experimental side of the population. To me it tastes like melted ricola cough drops, which i absolutely love. It’s minty, warm, spicey and bitter, some of my favorite flavors. More pics please!!

  • 13
    cyle // Jan 16, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I would love to know what herbs you found in the factory!!

  • 14
    Yenina V // May 16, 2013 at 3:20 am

    Hello! I am an Argentinean living in the US and I love Fernet! One of the things I want to do during my trip to Italy this summer is to take a tour of the headquarters, how do I sign up for one? I sent an email on their official webpage, but I have not heard back from them :( I do not want to miss this awesome opportunity!

  • 15
    Ms. Adventures in Italy // May 21, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    @Yenina – I’m sorry, I don’t have any contacts in Fernet.

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