Typical of the Sorrentine Peninsula, it is the most traditional after-dinner liquor in almost all regions of Italy
The Sorrento Lemon Liqueur PGI (Protected Geographical Indication), simply referred to as “Limoncello”, is one of the high-quality products of the Sorrento peninsula’s food and wine tradition. For centuries it has been produced for household consumption, but it has recently become a popular product in the Italian market and is now consumed in almost all regions of Italy. The Protected Geographical Indication PGI is assigned only to liqueurs obtained by cold maceration in ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin of the Sorrento’s Lemons peel PGI, known as the Ovale di Sorrento ecotype.
A short history of Limoncello – The history of limoncello develops through a net of anecdotes and myths. Sorrento, Amalfi and Capri, all claim to be its hometowns. Three towns, distant few kilometers from each other, take pride in a Limoncello production handed down through several generations. In Capri, some argue that its origins are tied to the history of the family of the entrepreneur Massimo Canale who was the first to register the 'Limoncello' trademark, in 1988. Nevertheless, in Sorrento and Amalfi, tales and stories about the production of the traditional yellow liqueur abound. On the coast, the story tells that, in the early ‘900s, noble families always served to their guests a drink of Limoncello, made by the traditional recipe. In Amalfi, it is claimed that the liqueur has ancient origins, dating back to the beginnings of lemon farming. It is also argued that Limoncello used to be consumed in the morning by fishermen and farmers, in order to keep themselves warm, at the time of the Saracene invasions. Others, however, believe that the recipe originated in a monastery to be enjoyed by monks between prayers. But beyond the parochial use, the traditional yellow liqueur has been crossing borders for decades, capturing markets across the world. And in order to defend the product against imitations, the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) has been assigned to the production of the typical “Ovale Sorrentino”. The original Sorrento çemon must be produced in one of the municipalities in the territory between Vico Equense and Massa Lubrense or on the island of Capri.
Production Method - For the production of the Sorrento Lemon Liqueur PGI, the peeling process, be it manual or mechanical, is carried out removing as much zest as possible without the pith. The infusion is carried out by soaking the peels, fresh or frozen, in rectified spirit within stainless steel containers, for at least 48 hours. The resulting infusion may undergo one or more filtrations. The liqueur is obtained by mixing a certain amount of water, sugar, or simple syrup if prepared separately, with the infusion of the Sorrento PGI lemon peels and ethyl alcohol, if necessary, in order to obtain the final alcoholic strength. It is mandatory to use at least 250 g of whole lemons peels per litre of liqueur. The resulting liqueur may undergo one or more filtrations and even homogenisation. The liqueur is produced, mixed and stored in stainless steel tanks. During the production stage, the liqueur is opalescent but it naturally clarifies with the passage of time. The only packaging allowed for the Sorrento Lemon Liqueur PGI is glass bottles. (Source: Agraria.com)
Organoleptic characteristics – The Sorrento Lemon Liqueur PGI is produced with the cold maceration in rectified spirit of the peels of Sorrento Lemons PGI. The ethanol content is not less than 30%, while the sugar content is not less than 200 g / litre and not more than 350 g / litre. The minimum weight ratio, guaranteed and mentioned on the label between the ingredients, must be at least 250 g of whole fruit of Limone di Sorrento PGI per litre of liquor. Since the only ingredient that affects the aroma and colour of the product is the Limone di Sorrento PGI, it is forbidden to use additives, colourants, emulsifiers, stabilizers and flavourings, with the exception of ascorbic acid (E 300) as an antioxidant, for amounts not exceeding the maximum permitted by law. (Source: Agraria.com)