If you’ve never tried limoncello, you should think about ordering a glass of this lemon digestivo the next time you’re eating in an Italian restaurant. It’s a wonderful way to top off a meal. Served chilled, limoncello clears the palette and warms the heart. Here are some of our favorite limoncello fun facts, from a variety of sources.
1. It is one of the most popular liqueurs in Italy. (Other popular liqueurs are sambuca, campari, amaretto.)
2. It is made from lemon zest, that is, the yellow exterior of the skin without the pith. The zest is steeped in grain alcohol until the oil is released.
3. Limoncello is produced primarily in southern Italy, often from the zest Sorrento lemons, which are also known as Femminello St. Teresa lemons. Locales of production include the Sorrentine Peninulsa and the Amalfi coast and the Gulf of Naples and in Procida, Ischia and Capri. It is also produced in Sicily and Sardinia.
4. Limoncello has been around for at least a century, but its precise origins are unclear. One story has the fishermen and farmers preparing their own versions — it is a simple recipe after all — and using it to fight colds. Another story has friars making it in their monasteries. Perhaps both these stories, and others you may hear, are true.
5. Limoncello got so popular in Italy at one point in the past decade that some restaurants were giving it away for free. Alas, that trend has come and gone. Typically limoncello is ordered after your meal, alone or with dessert.
So, these are our limoncello fun facts. Perhaps you have some you’d like to share. Limoncello is easy to make at home, by the way. You can find lots of recipes online. The trick of course is getting the right lemons.