I cannot imagine why but I hadn’t tasted Limoncello until I visited the Sorrento region back in 2011. For those not in the know the drink is a lemon liqueur which has been made in the region for 100 years and more and is the second most popular liqueur in Italy. It is made by soaking the zest of the gorgeous Sorrento lemons in rectified spirit and then adding sugar syrup. The drink was quite a revelation to me but not for entirely good reasons.
An Important Purchase
Before I even set off for the holiday I had heard that the drink was a regional speciality and resolved to buy a bottle when I arrived. The drink is about as common as Coca Cola in the area and that one bottle had become two before I had even made it to my rental apartment. After cooking the first evening meal I retired to the beautiful balcony overlooking the wondrous blue waters of the Mediterranean and after eating a fabulous tuna steak I undid one of the bottles of Limoncello.
Stronger than it Seems
It was a seminal moment! The drink was sweet yet fresh, full bodied yet simple and I just loved the zing of that first mouthful. I quickly drained the first glass and poured another and before I knew it most of the bottle has disappeared. I am not a great drinker usually and soon grow tired of most alcoholic beverages. This fact may have been my undoing as when I got up to clear the table I found that my legs had completely deserted me and I was, in fact, hopelessly drunk. The drink is deceptive. It feels almost like it is a soft drink but it packs a serious punch and I had certainly
Other Local Specialities
Over the following few days I learned my limits but I just couldn’t stop drinking the stuff. Several more bottles were purchased and downed and I also tried some of the other local offerings made from different fruits. None were quite as utterly fabulous as the Limoncello but pretty good tipples nonetheless. A variety produced from locally growing wild aniseed was a particular triumph but I always went back to the lemon!
Limoncello is not to everyone’s taste. Indeed my friend hates the stuff and says it tastes like lemon CIF. I dare not contemplate how he knows what a domestic cleaning product tastes like but I am sure that it isn’t in the same neighbourhood as what is now my favourite indulgence.
I had expected the trip to be memorable for the fabulous scenery, wonderful food and perhaps the quality wines and indeed it was but the Limoncello was a real highlight. It was also something I could take home with me which clearly wasn’t the case with Pompeii, Vesuvius or the rather excellent tuna steak that was available. Happily you can buy Limoncello in England and so I don’t have to suffer without it. Lemon CIF bah!
Article by Sally Stacey