Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Lemoncello? Lemoncell-no.

On June 20th, we arrived in Sorrento from Rome. On our way to our airbnb apartment, we walked through the I Giardini di Cataldo lemon garden. Towards the end of the garden, there was a stand where you could taste and buy homemade limoncello. Later that day we went to a local lagoon, called Bagni Della Regina Giovanna, where I noticed that lemons were growing everywhere along the path to the lagoon.

As it turns out, limoncello is an Italian liqueur that was created in Sorrento. Limoncello is traditionally made with Sorrento or Sfusato sorrentino lemons. These lemons are unique because they’re shaped like a football and are very juicy. Sfusato amalfitano lemons have knobs on the ends and citrons are larger lemons, but neither are as juicy as Sfusato sorrentino lemons.

Limoncello is made by soaking lemon peels without the pith in rectified spirits (i.e. vodka) until the yellow oil is released. Then mix the yellow oil with a sugar-water syrup. There you have it! Variations in the sugar-to-water ratio of the syrup will change the clarity, viscosity, and flavor of the drink. Limoncello is typically served as an after-dinner drink, also called a digestivo in Italy. However, with its rise in popularity in places such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, etc., limoncello has become a popular ingredient in cocktails.

The limoncello found in Sorrento tends to be more viscous and have a higher alcohol content than limoncello found elsewhere. Maybe it's the lemon flavor or the rectified spirits or a mix of both, but I'm not fond of the taste. Nevertheless, I encourage every traveler to Sorrento to try the delicacy that is limoncello.


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