Nocino is one of my favorite liqueurs to make!
When I was a kid, I remember black walnut ice cream. I never see it anymore! But I remember it falling in the flavor category of a good pistachio or butter pecan (with the obvious flavor difference of the nuts) and being really delicious.
I think that sitting around and cracking and picking nuts used to be more of a social activity, a way to socially pass time with a productive result. It seems like black walnuts are best harvested by hand and the decreases in people doing that kind of hand work has led to a decrease in the availability and popularity of black walnut foods.