When life gives you lemons…make Limoncello. At least, that was the thought shared by Stefano Massa and his brother, Sergio, as a way to protect and preserve a treasured asset of his homeland — the Sorrento Oval Lemon. This lemon has been recognized for its high quality and received Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in 2000 under EU regulations. Cultivated in the Sorrento area since the Middle Ages, the Sorrento Oval Lemon was originally brought to the Amalfi Coast in the Middle Ages as a way to prevent scurvy.
In 1991, Stefano and Sergio developed a special technique to extract the essential oils found in the lemon peels to create a high quality, standardized product of Limoncello that could be brought to the market. Previously, many Italians made their own Limoncello at home as did the Massa family. In fact, Stefano and Sergio returned to the family recipe that had been handed down for generations to create their product.
Unlike many of its competitors, Villa Massa Limoncelllo uses only this special lemon, inflused in pure alcohol for a minimum of three days and then blended with water and sugar and nothing else — no colors, no artificial flavors and no preservatives. The result is a liqueur that exudes the freshness of lemons, with the acidity beautifully balanced with sufficient sweetness.
When enjoyed on its own, the liqueur should be served cold and the bottle has been conveniently designed to fit in the freezer. However, the Villa Massa Limoncello is versatile as a mixer as well as a cooking ingredient. Try it with sparkling wine in place of orange juice or mix it with tonic water for pre-dinner cocktail. It can also replace rum in baking recipes or be used as a marinade component.
The Villa Massa Limoncello is available in 375 ml ($16.99 SRP) and in 750 ml ($27.99 SRP) sizes and can be found at a number of local wine shops.