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Limoncello: history and recipe of the liqueur from Amalfi and Sorrento

July 01, 2018

Limoncello: history and recipe of the liqueur from Amalfi and Sorrento

Limoncello is the best world renowned Italian liqueur, especially known for its typical straw coloured and sweet and sour taste. Served as an aperitif or digestive - before or after meals -, it has uncertain and undefined origins, which find a place in the territory between Amalfi, Sorrento and Capri. Over the years this yellow liqueur has spread in the international market so as to gain the PGI denomination (Protected Geographical Indication): lemons must be produced on the island of Capri or in one of the municipalities between Vico Equense and Massa Lubrense. In particular, the fruits must come from a cultivation without pesticides, have an oval shape and boast a smooth, thick and very juicy peel.

Limoncello’s origins: history or legend?

Limoncello’s origins are shrouded in mistery, despite its provenance from the Amalfi coast is certain. Amalfitani, Capresi and Sorrentini are competing for the paternity of the liqueur but nobody knows exactly who is responsible for its production. Some claim that limoncello was used by fishermen and farmers as a remedy against cold in the early morning, some assert that the recipe was born in a monastic convent with the intent of delighting friars between one prayer and another. The most convincing theory says that the liqueur was born at the beginning of the 1900s, in a small guesthouse on the Island of Azzurra, exactly in the stretch of sea between Capri and Sorrento Island, known as “The land of Sirens”. Lady Maria Antonia Farace took care of a wonderful garden of oranges and lemons, which she used to prepare her own recipe. The liqueur began to be known in the post-war period thanks to th nephew, who served it to guests in a bar near Alex Munte’s villa. Later – in 1988 -, his son Massimo Canale started a craft production of liquor, officially registering the trademark “Limoncello di Capri”.

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