A Lemon Liqueur in Southern Italy (And We’re Not Talking About Limoncello)
The lemon has a long and storied history in the south of Italy, particularly along the Amalfi Coast, but many tourists who visit the gorgeous southern regions of Italy often associate the lemons of the area with limoncello. But that’s not the only liqueur that’s made with this ancient and healthy fruit.
To discover where the liqueur known as Ambrosia di Limone is made, one must head to the Gargano area, before or after a Puglia cooking vacation. In particular the town of Rodi Garganico, an old fishing village, is home to some of the oldest lemon trees in all of Italy. And on those lemon trees, two versions of IGP-designated ambrosia lemons grow, one with seeds and one without. Of course the differences between the two kinds of ambrosias are more nuanced than that, but either way, they make a delicious treat – yes, even all on their own.
Of course, these lemons are also the basis of ambrosia di limone, which has a distinctive aroma of lemons. The intense fragrance is remarkable, and a big part of experiencing this regional liqueur. As for how the liqueur is made, the process is similar to homemade limoncello in that it contains alcohol as well as a syrup made with sugar and water. And of course, some lemon zest too. The process for making ambrosia di limone also includes storing the mixture in steel containers, and letting it rest for about 20 days before filtering and bottling.
While this is a lesser known drink, it’s no less delicious. That said, it’s not the only lemon liqueur in Puglia. As you’ll discover with a Puglia cooking vacation, the Italians here enjoy their fair share of their own homemade limoncello too!
By Liz Hall
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