From the lemons to the "Limoncello"
From the selection of the Best Sorrento IGP Lemons, the
creation of the original and incomparable LIMONCELLO DI CAPRI
because Lemons are not all the same
Why choices are made:
The complete control of the processing
Since 2006 “Limoncello di Capri” has been the only
company in its sector to adopt a production process which involves
the control of the entire process, from the lemon to the limoncello.
The lemons of Sorrento IGP, used for the production of
“Limoncello di Capri”, are purchased directly from the
farmers, after having undergone a scrupulous selection, first in
the country during harvesting, and subsequently, inside the
production establishment, during the peeling process, when the
peels are obtained to be used for infusion in alcohol.
Total control from the beginning of the process is of great
strategic importance in the Limoncello di Capri market, at the
time when control of the principal raw material, the famous
Sorrento IGP Lemon is essential when considering the fact that the
quantity and above all the quality of the product are both highly
conditioned by climatic factors, which have become extremely
variable, particularly in recent years.
For this reason, Limoncello di Capri has created a branch inside
its own organisational structure which deals exclusively with the
selection of agricultural suppliers, as well as the harvesting and
peeling of the Sorrento IGP Lemons. Expert personnel with specific
skills in the agricultural sector follow the farmers on a full-time
basis during the period of cultivation and harvesting, offering
them assistance with any problems concerning the supply of the
product, along with a valuable consultancy service on purely
The selection of agricultural suppliers
The use of highly qualified agronomists
enables Limoncello di Capri to select its own lemon suppliers, on
the basis of criteria designed to ensure consistency in both the
supply and quality of the lemons gathered.
The cultivation techniques of the pruning and picking of the
lemons are strictly evaluated in selected agricultural companies.
All the selected suppliers, whose production land must be located
in the territory of the Sorrentina and Capri Peninsula, must also
be enrolled on the register of IGP suppliers at the offices of
“IS. ME. CERT.” which is the disciplinary control body
of the Sorrento IGP Lemons, approved by the European Community
with CEE regulation no. 2081/92.
They must also adopt the traditional cultivation techniques of the
lemon used in the Sorrentina and Capri Peninsula territory such as,
for example, the construction of imposing pergolas with poles made
of chestnut wood which are used in Winter together with the
characteristic “pagliarelle” (rooves made of straw) to
protect the plants from adverse weather conditions.
Today there are 26 agricultural suppliers, with a range of
territory covering about 15 hectares, equal to a potential
production of about 400,000kg.
Limoncello of Capri gives precedence to organic companies,
(these currently represent about 25% of the suppliers), which
adopt strict criteria set for companies of this type for their
cultivation (eg. The absence of any treatment with plant
protection products) This further confirms the attention of
Limoncello di Capri for environmental issues, as witnessed by the
environmental Certification UNIEN ISO 14001-2004 carried out by
the company, making it one of the few Italian companies to boast
this much sought-after recognition.
Picking the lemons
The harvest period ranges from February to October every year.
The discipline of the production of Sorrento IGP Lemons demands a
biological stop from November of every year to 31st January of the
following year. This allows the normal flowering of the plants.
The agronomists already select the lemons at the harvesting stage,
reporting the relative data on the appropriate administration
cards, which are then counter-signed by the farmers for acceptance.
The cards also include a column to show the quantity of lemons
disposed of as waste since at this stage, thanks to a scrupulous
selection of the lemons, a first sorting of the product is carried
out, disposing of what is not suitable for processing.
The data reported on the administration cards is indispensable if
the need should arise to trace precisely the lots of lemons used to
produce any particular bottle of limoncello.
Moreover, relations between all parties are regulated by appropriate
administrative contracts as a means of guaranteeing both the agricultural
company and Limoncello di Capri.
Processing the lemons
Processing of the lemons begins with the sorting and finally the
removal of the stem. This stage eliminates any
reject lemons, (in a state of rotting, damage or having been ruined
by parasites, etc.) which might have slipped through the first selection
process during the harvesting. In this stage, the operator also takes steps
to further select the lemons depending on market characteristics.
After this stage the lemons go through subsequent processes
which include first washing and then peeling
them with purpose-built machinery.
During this final stage, the lemon has the rind removed
and in this peeled state it is sent for the production of “Limoncello di Capri”.
The peeled lemon (about 85% of the entire fruit) is then disposed
of as production waste.
...because the best
limoncello is made from the best lemons...
At the start of the 19th century Capri discovered its vocation for
the art of hospitality. Until such time, those visiting the island
could only find lodgings courtesy of the religious orders or the
families of fishermen and agricultural workers. Amongst the pioneers
of the island's hotel trade was Vincenza Canale, our grandmother,
who began to offer the patrons of her pensione the famous Limoncello
as an after dinner drink or “digestivo”.
The pensione “Mariantonia” soon became extremely popular
and a favourite haunt of famous and frequent visitors to the island.
Ignazio and Arturio Cerio, J.Fersen, Axel Munthe, F.A Krupp, and
Amadeo Maiuri were just a few of the celebrities who used to gather
at sunset at the “Mariantonia” to enjoy the delicious
liqueur. In hardly any time at all the fame of this “Limoncello”
began to spread amongst travellers, writers, and other famous personalities
who arrived on the island of Capri.
It is by faithfully following our grandmother's original recipe
that today we are able to produce the liqueur now known throughout
the world as “Limoncello”.