Limoncello is a popular liquor served in southern Italy, particularly around the Gulf of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. I have warm memories of sipping the chilled citrus liquor with my hosts on the terrace of their villa, which overlooked the Mediterranean Ocean and Mount Vesuvius. It was the perfect way to end an evening.
Limoncello is a sweet lemon liquor stored in the freezer and served icy cold in small glasses. The high alcohol content of the liquor keeps the Limoncello from freezing in the freezer.
The sweet yellow liquor is served in restaurants and homes, before and/or after dinner, as an aperitif or a digestive. The liquor is made of the peels of lemons, preferably Sorrento Lemons, alcohol, sugar and water. The flavor of the Limoncello comes from the outside peels, which contain aromatic oils and flavor. The inside of the lemon is not used in making the Limoncello.
Limoncello is sold in shops, but many people make their own Limoncello. I have not tried this, but recipes can be found on the internet. Lemon is the most popular cello, but the cellos can be made from any fruit and come in a variety of flavors.
Sorrento is famed for Limoncello, made from the fragrant, thick skinned Sorrento lemons. I took a horse driven carriage ride through the historic center in Sorrento and the carriage driver pointed with pride at the place where Limoncello was made in the center of town. I could not see much of it, as it was on a hill and surrounded by a primitive looking wooden fence.
There are several Limoncello shops in the scenic, historic town of Sorrento. The great thing is that visitors can sample the variety of Limoncellos at the store and select their favorites, much like a wine tasting.
The small shop that I happened into was called Fattoria Terranova. The shop had a wall lined with bottles of Limoncello and other flavors of cello. Some of the flavors included raspberry, cherry, orange, orange creme and anise.
The salesperson greeted me cheerfully and offered a sample of any of the liquors available. She poured the Limoncello into the bottom of a very small plastic cup so I could taste it. After sampling a few different flavors, I selected two bottles to take home.
I have not opened my bottles of Limoncello from Italy yet, but when I do I am sure that I will recall the balmy nights on the Meditterranean, gazing at Mt.Vesuvius.
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