Lemons are large as softballs grow on trellises overlooking the sea on Classic Journeys’ Amalfi Coast vacation.
Let’s get this fact out of the way first: A syrupy slug of limoncello is a fine, fine way to end a valley walk into the town of Amalfi. Not that the walk itself is without its own rewards. On the paved switchback trail, you look down to the red-roofed Italian village that looks like it stopped just shy of spilling into the sea. That path is lined with groaning Sorrento lemon trees, their branches propped up and wrapped in netting.
And “groaning” is no exaggeration. These are macro-lemons, many of them as big as softballs. Slice one crosswise, and you’ll see that the rind is easily an inch or so thick. That fragrant, just-acidic-enough peel is the secret to limoncello, the sunny liqueur that arrives in frosty glasses at the end of so many meals in these parts.
Clearly, a tasting is in order, and that’s precisely where the downhill walk leads – to the micro-factory of one of the region’s oldest makers. Inside, the air is citrus overload. The walls are lined with bottles galore – fat balloons, skinny octagonal pillars, flasks and so on. Marco, the distiller, uncaps a favorite and pours a splash into your plastic cup. (No fancy crystal here. Limoncello is about fun, not ritual.) The first taste shocks the taste buds into action, the equivalent of a half dozen of those giant lemons distilled down into one sip. There are multiple variations on the classic. Need a clean cup? non c’e’ problema. You’ll want one to try one of the new versions based on other fruits and even chocolate and coffee.
Luigi, our driver, takes you back to Positano. So go for seconds. Chat up Marco. (He can talk lemons all day.) For the rest of your life, it’s a near guarantee that any sip of limoncello anywhere will transport you back to this moment on the Amalfi Coast.Travelers toast their Amalfi Coast vacation with the local limoncello liquer.