The lemons of Sorrento represent an absolute specificity – for cultivation methods and organoleptic properties – that also differs from the lemons of the more than nearby Amalfi Coast. They are in fact distinguished by a Protected Geographical Indication, linked to a production area strictly limited to the Sorrento Peninsula, between Massa Lubrense, Meta di Sorrento, Sant’Agnello, Sorrento and Vico Equense, up to touch the island of Capri. Commonly, this type of lemon is called “femminello sorrentino” or, also, “oval of Sorrento”, and is distinguished by a straw-yellow pulp and a decidedly acidic juice.
The lemon of Sorrento is cultivated thanks to the positioning of the plants under the so-called “pagliarelle“, that is straw mats that are placed on special support poles in order to cover and protect the tops of the trees from the cold and, in this way, to prolong the ripening phase. This specific cultivation is also the largest in the Campania region, making up 40% of the total product.
The lemon of Sorrento has an ancient history, since its cultivation is evidenced by historical documents dating back to 1500, although its presence in the area would date back at least to theRoman era: appears in fact depicted – with the specific characteristics that still distinguish it today – in numerous frescoes and mosaics found in the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. To the ‘600, however, numerous documents and works of art that document the cultivation and use in various uses, especially in reference to the territory between Sorrento and Massalubrense, to be mentioned in the works of writers such as the Sorrentine Torquato Tasso, and Giovanni Pontano and Giambattista della Porta.
All the properties of the lemon of Sorrento
The lemon juice of the Sorrento Peninsula is particularly sour and sour, and is naturally rich in vitamin C (38 gr. every 100 gr. of product), as well as mineral salts such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium , and manganese. To this is added a significant detoxifying and antioxidant properties, ensured by the rich intake of flavonoids. In addition, it is effective in counteracting the effects of nausea and strengthening the circulatory system. Its skin is particularly rich in essential oils, which guarantee its unmistakable fragrance.
Sorrentine lemons in the kitchen
Its specific qualitative characteristics make the limone sorrentino an absolute agri-food excellence, which feeds not only the fresh lemon market, but also the production of the famous “Limoncello“the exquisite infusion of lemon peel in pure alcohol, which has become a product appreciated and consumed all over the world. The lemons of Sorrento, moreover, find wide use in the kitchen, where they are used to season and flavor various specialties characteristic of the Sorrento Peninsula, including appetizers, pasta dishes, main courses and side dishes, and of course desserts. Among the latter, the exquisite version of baba with lemon and “delights with lemon” stand out.
Spaghetti with Sorrento lemons and chili
A first course of great interest, which involves the use of this delicious citrus are the spaghetti with lemons of Sorrento and chili. The preparation is not particularly complex.
- Scald the rind of a lemon in boiling water for a few minutes, then cut it into thin strips
- After cleaning and cutting lemongrass strips, chop the chilli
- Separately, boil 100 grams of lemon juice of Sorrento with 25 grams of sugar for 10 minutes, until you get a reduction
- After cooking the spaghetti, heat the oil in a pan with the addition of a knob of butter, and then add the lemon rind, lemongrass, chili and a bunch of chopped parsley
Sorrento is a small town situated in an enchanting and elevated position, with a splendid view on the Gulf of Naples, in the northern part of the Sorrento Peninsula, , between the sea and a lush hinterland. The old town, built on the original route of the Roman Surrentum, still partly surrounded by walls dating back to the ‘500, contains the Duomo of the fifteenth century, the church of San Francesco with the small cloister in Arabic style and the Museo Correale di Terranova – housed in the Villa alla Rota – with the collection of Greek and Roman finds, and a picture gallery of the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.
Near it you can see the ruins of the two Roman villas: that of Pollio Felice and that of Agrippa Postumo, to which are added villas less ancient but equally fascinating, as Villa Silvana, residence in art nouveau style with a beautiful terrace overlooking the gulf, and the famous Villa Tritone. Among the many destinations to visit, a mention should also be made to the Baths of Queen Joan, and the beautiful Grotto of the Sirens.
What to do in Sorrento in spring
The city of Sorrento is an ideal destination in the spring period. The summer, in fact, is one of the best times to appreciate all the numerous attractions thanks to a particularly sweet and pleasant climate: from the delicious tranquility to its natural beauty, from the historical attractions-to the extraordinary gastronomic attractions. The beaches make it a paradise for those who want to enjoy the sun and the beneficial influences of the sea, while its beautiful old town makes it an excellent opportunity for artistic and cultural discovery. Not to mention the countless culinary specialties that include fish dishes and other genuine ingredients, such as mozzarella, tomatoes, oil, basil, including the famous “gnocchi alla sorrentina”. In addition, starting from Marina Piccola, you can embark on a hydrofoil for an excursion on the beautiful island of Capri, but also in the direction of other centers along the Gulf of Naples and the Cilento coast.
The Sorrento coast
The term Sorrento Coast indicates the stretch of coast overlooking the Gulf of Naples and between Sant’Agata sui due Golfi, in Massalunbrense, and Vico Equense. The coast is renowned for its extraordinary natural beauty, which includes thenatural marine protected area of the Bay of Leranto, at Punta Campanella. But also for its extraordinary gastronomic tradition, of which the limoncello is perhaps the most internationally recognized product, together with the provolone of the Monaco DOP, to the mozzarella di bufala campana and to the lemons of Sorrento, and to the pasta of Gragnano. A tradition that also has a great success from the point of view of catering: there are about twenty starred restaurants active in the territory of the Coast.
Immagine copertina: International Flora