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Grolla - Friendship cup

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The grolla and the friendship cup are two typical objects of the Aosta Valley handicraft. The friendship cup is a covered wooden cup, often carved, with several spouts (which are used to drink "à la ronde", i.e. passing the cup from hand to hand, never putting it down until it is empty). Its origins are ancestral. It was initially used as a daily wooden bowl.

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The grolla and the friendship cup are two typical objects of the Aosta Valley handicraft. The friendship cup is a covered wooden cup, often carved, with several spouts (which are used to drink "à la ronde", i.e. passing the cup from hand to hand, never putting it down until it is empty). Its origins are ancestral. It was initially used as a daily wooden bowl.Its current shape is the result of an evolution over the centuries. The grolla is a wooden chalice and has a vertical shape. The word “grolla” is related etymologically to “grail,” and is believed to have been inspired by the Holy Grail itself. The grolla was already used in the Aosta Valley castles in the Middle-Ages. The friendship cup, often called grolla by mistake for its similarity with the Grolle from Savoy, is traditionaly used to drink the "caffè alla valdostana", a typical beverage made of coffee, grappa, genipi liqueur and spices. The mixture is heated well before being poured into the cup and set on fire. The ritual plans that every participant drinks from one of the spouts and passes it to the friend on his right, who drinks from the next spout. The process continues in a circle until the cup is empty. By this time, all participants feel a close bond of friendship. That is why the friendship cup is considered to be the symbol of the Aosta Valley inhabitants' warmth.

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