Limoncello is a sweet lemon liqueur. It was first made at the end of the nineteenth century as an alcoholic beverage by blending lemons, sugar and alcohol. The key to good Limoncello are the natural ingredients that are used such as the famous Sorrento Lemons (IGP). These lemons are a typical citrus variety grown only in the areas around Sorrento. Because of the Mediterranean climate of the Sorrento-Amalfi Coast, the Sorrento Lemons grow a thick and fragrant peel, rich in essential oils which give the Limoncello of Sorrento its unique flavor.
Limoncello is nowadays undoubtedly one of the most famous and popular digestives in the world. Do you know one Italian restaurant that doesn’t serve a good Limoncello? It doesn’t have to be a digestive though, limoncello can be a great aperitif mixed with tonic water or champagne. If you are in the region of Sorrento don’t hesitate to visit a lemon grove to learn more about Limoncello and its production process.
Le Grottelle lemon grove
Le Grottelle is a historical lemon grove of Sorrento Peninsula. It is 7.000 square meters and has almost 200 lemon trees as well as other cultivations and typical spice bushes. The garden was brought back to its ancient splendor thanks to the current. “Le Grottelle” takes its name from the old path that goes down from Monte Faito, the peak of the last foothills of the Lattari mountain range, through the rural homes of Vico Equense and arrives at Sorrento Plain.
In the Le Grottelle lemon grove, the famous Oval of Sorrento lemon is grown. The oval of Sorrento distinguishes itself from more common lemons on the market because of its size, color, juiciness, and flavor. Its qualitative features are recognized world wide and the lemons have a Protected Geographical Indicaiton (PGI). The PGI Lemon of Sorrento grows only in the towns of the Sorrento peninsula (Massa Lubrense, Meta, Piano di Sorrento, Sant’Angelo, Sorrento, Vico Equense), as well on the island of Capri.
The typical characteristics of the Oval of Sorrento lie mainly in the cultivation technique which has remained unchanged over the centuries and is characterized using “pagliarelle”. These are straw mats that are placed on chestnut poles to protect the trees from the cold and wind. Harvesting these lemons is carried out strictly by hand to prevent the lemons from coming into direct contact with the ground. Thanks to this secular cultivation technique, which allows the fruit to mature more slowly. It’s from these lemons that the best Limoncello producers such as Villa Massa produce the best Limoncello.
If you are interested in a visiting Le Grotelle lemon grove or the Villa Massa property, you can contact Villa Massa directly at+390817506111 or take a look at their website.