Remember Stanley Tucci mentioning about Minori in “Searching for Italy”, a small town on Italy's Amalfi Coast where Stanley Tucci tasted what he called the world's best lemons. And our Limoncello was born in Minori on the Amalfi Coast.
Limoncello (Italian pronunciation: [limonˈtʃɛlːo]) is one of the most well-known and popular Italian liqueur in the world, Limoncello made from the zest of lemons, sugar, water and alcohol, it mainly produced in Southern Italy, especially in the region around the Sorrentine Peninsula and the coast of Amalfi. There are different theories about the origin of limoncello, with some saying that monks on the Amalfi Coast drank limoncello to pass the time between prayers. There is also a saying that fishermen drink water to keep warm in the morning. Some versions clarify that sailors rather than fishermen drank it to avoid scurvy, and there is a convincing version in Capri, where the Limoncello was born in a small boarding house on the island of Azzurra in the early 1900s, Maria Antonia Farace took care of a rigorous garden of lemons and oranges and she used to make Limoncello to offer her guests. Nephew opened a bar near Alex Mount's cottage in the post-war period. That bar features limoncello made with Nona's old recipe. But limoncello is definitely an after-dinner drink brewed in every household.
Where does the authentic Limoncello come from? And what makes it so special?
Authentic and original limoncello comes from three main regions, Amalfi, Sorrento and Capri, all located on the Amalfi Coast. If you ever get the chance to visit the Amalfi Coast, you'll immediately understand why without me saying a word. On the Amalfi Coast, lemon trees are everywhere. They grow on steep terraces along the coast, along roadsides, in gardens and on balconies. The winding roads of the Amalfi Coast are dotted with fruit stands proudly displaying these gorgeous knobby lemons. Nature has endowed this beautiful place with the sacred gift of "lemons", so the locals produce many lemon-related products and designs, but limoncello is the most popular product there.
There are two types of lemons, and they are both IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta),which translates to PGI – Protected Geographical Indication-protected by the EU, a designation that ensures they are produced only on the Amalfi Coast and which indicates their role as an important and unique regional food in Campania.
Amalfi Lemon also called “Sfusato Amalfitano”: Amalfi lemons are named for their varietal origin, and lemons have a particularly elongated, tapered shape, not unlike the Italian word for spindle-shaped sfusato. This distinctive feature makes it easy to distinguish from other round lemon varieties grown elsewhere in Italy.
Botanist G.B. Ferrari was the first to record the qualities of the local lemons in 1646. He wrote:
'the nipple is prominent, the rind is rough, pleasantly scented with a sweet taste, the flesh has 8 or 9 segments, the taste is pleasantly sour'.
You can find Sfusato Amalfitano in the towns of Atrani, Cetara, Conca dei Marini, Furore, Maiori, Minori, Ravello, Scala, Positano, Praiano and Tramonti. Amalfi lemons contain at least 25% juice by volume and are larger than regular lemons, which weigh at least 100 grams. Amalfi lemons are sweet and juicy thanks to long, hot summers and mild winters, which means that Amalfi lemons have ample opportunity to be sweetened by the Italian sun. It has a strong aroma and fragrance, rich in essential oils and acidic terpenes. These properties also make it perfect for the production of limoncello.
Also known as the "Limone pane" ("bread lemon"), this delicious lemon is the only lemon you can bite into and is very juicy because of its edible rind. That being said, you can eat a good quality Amalfi lemon like you would an apple or an orange if you wanted to.
Limone di Sorrento, also called “'Femminello”: Sorrento lemons are grown in protected areas on Capri and the Sorrento peninsula. It grows on the Sorrento peninsula, especially in Massa Lubrense, Sorrento, Sant'Agnello, Piano di Sorrento, Meta, Vico Equense and on the island of Capri. Sorrento femminiello, also known as "Massa lemon" or "Sorrento Oval" (referring to the oval shape of the fruit), is medium-large, weighing no more than 85 grams per lemon, with a straw-yellow pulp and a highly acidic juice (as opposed to medium acidic Amalfitano lemons are different). The peel is medium thick, rough, very fragrant due to its richness in essential oils, and is citrine yellow in color.
Limoncello Production Process
According to our supplier (also a good friend of ours) the lemons are always picked by hand to ensure that the lemons are suitable for making limoncello as only the zest is used to make limoncello especially our supplier Carlo Mansi uses green Lemon, that is, the state before the lemon is about to ripen and turn yellow. The secret is to taste more aroma and fresher. Carlo Mansi even mentioned that green lemons are even more expensive than yellow lemons because they weigh less before they ripen and turn yellow.
Lemons are peeled by hand to ensure that each piece of peel is very thin, because the machine cannot be adjusted according to the unique shape of each lemon, we do not need the white part, so maintaining traditional craftsmanship is the secret to ensuring the best quality.
After that, soak the lemon peel in 96% alcohol for 2 days, up to 3 days, then filter the lemon peel, add water and sugar and mix thoroughly. Yet a delicious limoncello is ready. It's super easy to make, but the key to great limoncello is the ingredients and craftsmanship.
How to serve Limoncello? Why is Limoncello good for digestion?
Traditionally, after a meal, either after or during dessert, people stay around the table, serving wine in cool shot glasses, sharing limoncello, sipping slowly, and wishing good health. However, you can drink it for any occasion. Many people are even making it into cocktails these days. Besides the traditional Limoncello, the producers use the same technique to make different flavors, such as Melon Cream, Pistachio Cream, Lemon Cream, the texture is creamier because they add milk powder to make it silky, after refrigeration, it tastes like sorbet, fresh Delicious, some people even put it on top of ice cream or desserts for even more ways to enjoy it.
Lemons themselves are a great natural digestive, on the Amalfi Coast you'll often find them serving lemon sorbets after meals, or ubiquitous on the streets and in restaurants, says Carlo Mansi, eat lemon sorbet within 30 minutes of your meal, it will help your digestion right away but may not work as well after 30 minutes, we tried it and it works great! That's the secret of lemons, and Limoncello is made from those amazing lemons, which is why it's a digestive liqueur and it's also rich in vitamin C.