In Italy, due to a lack of olive groves and the high cost of olive oil, the use of walnut oil developed mainly in the north, where every house had its own walnut tree in the garden. Walnut oil fast became a key ingredient, still used today, in the preparation of one particular dish – the Bagna Cauda, a typical Piedmont recipe.
Other evidence dating back to the XVI century tells us that the cold extraction of the walnut oil was reserved exclusively for the noble class, while the product obtained through hot extraction was used by other social classes, both in cooking and as a healing ointment.
Known and appreciated since right back in Roman times, walnut oil was used in the Middle Ages both as a food and as a fuel for lamps and lanterns.
Used as a foodstuff since the dawn of time, evidence has also been discovered of the use of walnut oil in the embalming rituals of the ancient Egyptians, while some writings indicate that in France it was used by the church as a holy oil. Chemical analysis has also found traces of walnut oil in paintings by Monet, Picasso and Cézanne.