Ciao a tutti! Benvenuto a Sorrento!
We started our European holiday in Italy; where we explored this magnificent country on a Trafalgar tour for 2 weeks! We decided on Trafalgar because we weren’t up for partying all night and dealing with hangovers the next day; we WANTED to see the country and the wealth of culture (and food) it has to offer. However, that also meant that we would be travelling with the oldies.. Ant and I were the youngest ones there! The average age for this group would have to be around the 50′s. We met a lot of interesting people in this group. There were several Australians with us; I loved the old German couple from Queensland. They were so cute and serious drinkers too (they’d have a shot of vodka or schnapps with their coffee in the morning, a beer with lunch, some afternoon digestives and then a few glasses of wine with their dinner!). When Ant got sick the husband would tell him to have some vodka to “kill the bugs” whilst the wife told me “to make him better you gotta give him a great big hug.” Ahhh… wise words. And of course there were Americans on this tour; there was a mother and daughter team from New York that I did not like at all (we found out at the end of the tour that everyone else in the group felt the same way – it was funny seeing the older people mock these New Yorkers). They were very obnoxious, self-indulged and just annoying! There was another American lady who asked us “Do you have Mc Donalds in Australia?” and was amazed to find out that olives have seeds in them. Some people in the world have no clue outside the space they live in.
A few days into our tour we arrived in Sorrento; the city of lemons. Our first visit was to a farm where we learnt how olive oil is made and saw a cheese-making demonstration by a lady, nicknamed Maria Mozzarella. It was interesting learning how to make ricotta and mozzarella (there are two forms; the dried one which lasts for a few weeks and the fresh one which lasts for a few days). With my awesome Italian speaking skills I asked her “Posso fare una foto con Lei?” (Can I take a photo with you?) So 1, 2, 3.. Formaggi! I got a photo with her. Afterwards we were treated with one of the most memorable meals ever; it was a simple lunch of cold meats, fresh mozzarella, homemade bread, the tastiest insalata caprese, omelette, homemade wine and a moist sponge cake with homemade orange marmalade. Everything was so fresh, which was expected since everything came from the farm.
We spent two days here and in that time we got to see a wood-laying demonstration, did a little shopping in the town, visited Capri to see the many grottos and fantastic views (the water was a magnificent shade of blue, even on an overcast day) and walked along the Amalfi Coast. The dive to the Amalfi Coast was surely interesting. There was thick fog up (we couldn’t see a few meters ahead of us) driving up hills on roads that can fit 2 Fiats (we were in a mini bus) and there was a lot of bends, so it was pretty freaky on the way up since we were closer to the edge of the road and the only thing stopping us plummeting to the ground was a low road barrier. The highlight of would have to be going to Capri and sailing around the island. We started from Marina Grande and took a boat around to the Faraglioni; which are 3 rock formations which have undergone erosion (similar to The “12″ Apostles). Along the way we got to see a few grottos but the most amazing thing was how blue the water was; even on an overcast day the water was a mesmerising shade of blue, so one would wonder what it would be like during Summer! Something we missed out on doing which I would have loved to do was to visit the Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto). Here you actually get to go into the grotto and witness the intense blue interior; what a magical sight that would be (as seen in the picture below).
There are many lemon groves in Sorrento so there is no surprise that they it was here at Maria Mozzarella’s farm where we sampled the BEST limoncello; an Italian lemon liqueur. We were given samples of their limoncello and limoncello a crema to try as well as a bottle of their liquid gold to take home. I loved both but preferred the latter as it was smoother and sweeter. Ant’s dad has an avid love for all things lemon so when I gave him a bottle of my homemade limoncello, I got the thumbs up for it. That was my tick of approval by an Italian. Limoncello is best served cold and absolutely perfect for a warm Summers day; when unexpected guests pop by, stick a few shot glasses of limoncello in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes and a way you go. A word of warning though; this is dangerously good and sweet so you could have alot of drinks and before you know it you may feel a slight buzz in the head and all happy and warm inside (if you prefer a stronger liqueur, feel free to add less sugar syrup).
EDIT: I’ve had so many enquiries about “Maria Mozzarella’s” farm, so instead of addressing each person individually each time I’ve decided to do some research into where this actual place is to share it with those who are interested. The actual name of the farm is called La Sorgente. The address is Via Atigliana 18, Sorrento and their number is (+39) 081 8072618. Apparently it costs 18€/person for the cheese-making demonstration, tour of their olive oil pressing vat and the most amazing lunch you’ll ever have.
Makes 1.5L of limoncello (arancello)
7 lemons (oranges)
750mL bottle of (grain) vodka
3 cups sugar
Print this Recipe
- Clean the lemons and dry. Some lemons may be waxed, to unwax them just pop them into boiling water for about 10 seconds. (I didn’t do this though)
- Peel the zest; being careful to not get any of the white pith otherwise it would make the limoncello bitter.
- Place the peels in a large jar with the vodka and seal the lid tightly.
- Place the jar in a cool, dry place for 3-4 weeks. Every so often shake the content.
- When it is time to make the limoncello, dissolve the sugar completely in water and cool to room temperature.
- Strain the lemon peels out of the alcohol and then add the sugar syrup.
- Pour then into bottles.
- Serve cold and enjoy responsibly.