Italy House


~ Living in Italy ~



Wild service tree

Wild service trees are taken as an indicator of ancient woodland. There are two of them next to each other in a prominent position on a ridge above our house.

Wild service tree - click to enlarge

One of the wild service trees
Click on picture to enlarge

The berries of the wild service tree are called chequers (sometimes the tree itself is called a chequers tree). They are edible especially when very ripe and soft, and have a bland, sweet taste rather like dates only with a mushy rather than a chewy consistency.

Chequers - click to enlarge

Click on picture to enlarge

When viewing another house in our quest for a new home, we were plied with chequers served from a dish as a great delicacy. Over-ripe, which is when they are at their best, they are not particularly attractive to look at and are also something of an acquired taste.

Chequers apparently gave rise to the common Pub name 'The Chequers' (nothing to do with the game despite the signs). It is variously reported that they were used to make an alcoholic drink called chequers, that they were used to flavour beer before the introduction of hops, and that they were supplied to be eaten alongside the drinking of beer in order to neutralise its effects. Maybe all three!

Chequers are known to be good for calming the stomach. This property is embedded in the scientific name of the tree which is 'sorbus torminalis', torminalis apparently meaning 'good for colic'. The Italian word for the tree is 'sorbo'; an alternative English name is 'sorb'.

Italian flag



House for sale

House brochure




House in Umbria

Second home

House restoration





Driving Test

Italy news

Food and drink


Italy articles

Link to us

Useful links


Contact us



All material copyright of Clive West and Damaris West 2007 - 2018 and not to be used or reproduced without written permission.

Home | Sitemap | House for sale

~ Italy House ~