Sorrento is famous for a lot of things, but something I didn’t know about until we got there, was that it’s famous for its Limoncello! The geography (sun, climate, soil, etc) allows for the growth of massive lemons. And I mean MASSIVE. We saw some at one of the farmer stands that was as big as cantaloupe! Now maybe we can grow those big lemons in the USA somewhere – but I’ve never seen them!
Limoncello is a drink that originated from Southern Italy and is over 100 years old. I could tell you all the other facts about Limoncello but you can Google those yourself. What is fun to share with you is the story I was told by the street vendor who says he has been producing his own Limoncello for over 40 years and it is the best in Italy ever since the Nuns created the liquor. That’s right: the nuns! According to legend, limoncello was developed by nuns in the convents! (Well, they did have a lot of time and lemon on their hands.) The vendor (I can’t remember his name) told us that the nuns used limoncello in special pastries they made for the priests and his visitors – and the pastries eventually became famous throughout the land.
Now whether all that is true or just local legend, it’s not for me to decide. All I know is that the limoncello of Sorrento was pretty good stuff! I didn’t think I was going to like it – I’m not a big fan of lemonade or liquor – but I’ve only been out of Sorrento for 1 day and I’m already regretting not buying a bottle for the next couple of weeks’ travels.
In Sorrento, it’s common for restaurants to serve Limoncello at the end of a meal. It’s considered a digestive aid and served in a chilled shot glass. I’m all for digestive aids served in chilled shot glasses!
I know Italy is known for it’s food – a pasta and pizza lover’s heaven! But I’m not really a foodie so the food, to date, hasn’t been that impressive for me. But the Limoncello will be what I remember most about Sorrento as it’s so much a part of the economy (citrus growers, vendor), the tourism, and the local culture. It’s something that visitors can imbibe in and immediately find themselves enjoying the richness of Southern Italian heritage and tradition.