Exploring the Vibrant Citrus Symphony of Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast
While walking through Sorrento’s many streets and alleys, it would be impossible for your eye to not be drawn towards all the bright flashes of yellow here and there.
Looking closer, you will see that this vibrant color belongs to the iconic Sorrento lemon.
Every few paces walked in Sorrento will bring you to yet another variation of lemons.
Sidewalks are sprinkled with lemon trees. Shops are filled with lemon-flavored candies.
Store windows display clothing adorned with colorful lemon prints; bars and restaurants feature endless limoncello.
Why is this small, sour fruit the talk of the town here? It is simple: because it is delicious!
Sorrento and a few neighboring towns on the Amalfi coast have been deemed the locations with the best citrus in the world.
These lemons are so iconic that the name “Sorrento Lemon” (Limone di Sorrento) has been given Indication of Geographic Protection under the jurisdiction of the European Union, proving that there is no other lemon that compares to Sorrento’s.
If you are walking down the street and see something that looks like a larger-than-life sized lemon, do not be fooled. This is not actually a lemon; it is a citron.
This and the Sorrento Lemon are closely related, however, citron has much more pith (the white inside of citrus), so it is rarely used to flavor foods and drinks, but it makes for a great vessel.
You may see others cruising the street of Corso Italia and eating gelato piled high inside a hollowed out citron fruit.
From Limoncello to Refreshing Summer Spritzes
The zesty, tangy Sorrento Lemon pairs beautifully with all things sweet.
For example, Limoncello is perhaps the most well-known lemon product Sorrento produces.
Made by soaking lemon peels in spirits and adding simple syrup, Limoncello is a strong liquor that is in no short supply here.
You can find it in small local shops or grocery stores, often with bottles decorated with hand-painted images of iconic places in Sorrento or the lemons themselves.
The first time I had the delight of Limoncello here in Sorrento was as a digestif drink.
A digestif drink is a small glass of straight liquor that is drunk after dinner because it is said to aid digestion.
This is a very similar idea to aperitivo, which is a drink before dinner to stimulate your appetite before a meal.
Besides as a digestif, Limoncello can be used in a Spritz, which is liquor, prosecco, and soda water, and makes for the perfect light and refreshing summer drink.
Limoncello also makes much more than a delicious drink.
Heavenly Gelato al Limone and Delizia al Limone Cake Delights
A famous dessert here is ‘Delizia al limone’ (lemon delight).
This is a small, dome-shaped pastry filled with sponge cake and a limoncello cream.
Be sure to stop into one of Sorrento’s many pastry shops or coffee bars to try this mouth-watering dessert.
If you are looking for a lemon dessert with no alcohol content, lemon gelato is simple, but refreshing go-to lemon favorite.
Last week, my classmates and I had the fun opportunity to go to Gelateria David for a gelato making class.
During the class, the shop’s owner showed us how to make lemon gelato step-by-step, which of course involved freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Before being put in the gelato, the lemon juice had a bright yellow color, unlike any lemon juice I have seen before.
The gelato came out of the mixing machine, and it had created a beautiful, smooth white-colored gelato.
When trying the freshly made gelato, I was astounded by how much lemon flavor came through even after being diluted by water and sugar; it was delicious!
Lastly, Sorrento lemons are also used here to elevate savory food.
The strong citrus flavor pairs wonderfully in pastas and seafood dishes, both of which Sorrento has no shortage of.
My personal favorite is Spaghetti with oil, garlic, chili, and lemon.
It is simple, yet delicious, so if you spot it on a menu, I highly recommend giving it a try!
Not looking for food or drinks, but still want to experience the Sorrento Lemon? You are in luck!
The natural habitat of Sorrento Lemons
The Sorrento Lemon is tasty, but also gorgeous in its natural habitat: the lemon grove.
The two smaller-scale lemon groves I visited were I Giardini di Cataldo and La Limonaia, and I was enchanted by both.
I was blanketed in the aroma of the lemons hanging above my head and felt as though I was transported to the Italian countryside.
You would never guess these quaint lemon groves were a few minutes walk away from the city center, but both of these groves were only a few paces away from the bustling Parco Lauro, Via Correale, and Corso Italia.
These lemon groves are popular for their picturesque arches which many people pose and snap photos under, but these overhead arches, called ‘pagliarella’ are for functionality as well.
“Pagliarella” is the wooden structures around the lemon grove that hold up mats above the trees to prevent frosting in colder seasons.
In the busy, hotter summer months, the pagliarellas create the perfect setting for a lemon grove photo opt to capture the beauty of Sorrento’s lemons.