Stop at once whatever you are doing, close your eyes and imagine yourself perched high above the Amalfi Coast. Then, you start walking on the terraces where the lemon groves stand, hand in hand with the farmers who have worked so hard to carve the cultivated terraces over many centuries. This is the place, unique in the world, to discover all you need know about the “Sfusato Amalfitano”, the most famous Amalfi lemon.
Although lemons were known in ancient Roman times, not least at Pompei, the lemon we know and love today, the Sfusato d'Amalfi, has developed over a thousand years.
Traded between the Republic of Amalfi and the Middle East, it was small, insignificant and practically inedible. Over time farmers crossed the variety with bitter local oranges until they produced a form known as the 'nostrato', a direct parent of the present day Sfusato d'Amalfi, now boasting the recognition of European Protected Geographical Indication IGP. Gathered from February to October, it is a unique variety, long, tapered and at least double the size of other lemons with a thick and wrinkled skin, an intense perfume, and a sweet and juicy flesh.
The secret to the taste and the properties of the sfusato amalfitano comes from the formation of the Amafi territory, protected from the cold northern wind by the mountains and exposed to the sea breezes and strong sun. The ancient cultivation methods on terraces of porous earth. fertilized only with natural substances also play a part. The Amalfi lemon is an essential ingredient in the gastronomy of the coast: the juice, the flesh, the peel, and even the leaves are used in the cuisine.
The juice is used to flavor fish and seafood, in lemonade and sorbets. As an appetizer or dessert, the flesh is cut into large slices and dressed with a pinch of salt, oil and fresh mint. The leaves are used for the preparation of “frittelle di Ceceniello” (tiny fish on lemon leaves) or to give their aroma to “Conoglio Conchese” (rabbit, Conca style), or provolette (smoked cheese grilled on lemon leaves). The sfusato is used for desserts such as Delizia al Limone (a light sponge flavored filled with lemon cream) and the Babà, which is soaked in lemon syrup.
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