Lemon Festival | Massa Lubrense
46^ Edition – July 2020 – LIMONI IN FESTA | EVENT POSTPONED
The highlight of the summer in Massa, the opportunity is excellent to taste many delicacies of the Massa Lubrense cuisine based on the typical citrus fruit that gives the festival its name: the oval Massese lemon called “femminiello”.
A series of events that take place in the city center, following the flavors of the lemon-scented dishes, the sounds of popular music, the rediscovery of the oldest palaces, streets, typical corners.
THE LEMON (Citrus Limonum)
Lemon, like other citrus fruits, belongs to the Rutacaee family. The stem can go up to about 5 meters. The leaves are alternate and leathery, bright green in color. The flowers are white in color and are called zagare. The fruit is a berry, called hesperidium, of intense yellow color and oval shape with smooth or wrinkled skin. It is rich in vitamins A and C, citric acid and sugars. Lemon has remarkable properties: astringent, antiscorbutic, disinfectant.
Massa Lubrense lemon, called “oval lemon” or “femminiello”, is characterized by a straw yellow pulp, juice rich in vitamin C and mineral salts and peel rich in essential oils. The Sorrento peninsula is the home of lemons, those with a capital L: large and bright yellow in color, with succulent and fragrant flesh, they are in demand and coveted from all over the world.
Lemon is the protagonist of the kitchen, and not only. Season the vegetables, flavor the fish and refresh the meat. It helps digestion when it becomes sorbet or limoncello, and is the inevitable ingredient of many cocktails, not to mention the fundamental role it plays in the preparation of desserts and cakes.
From the maceration of the lemon peels, an authentic elixir is obtained: limoncello. A liqueur that in recent years has found widespread on the tables of Italians, with known digestive properties.
THE LEMONCELLO RECIPE
1 liter of alcohol
12 lemons from Massa Lubrense
¾ of water
600 g of sugar
Infuse the lemon skins in alcohol for seven days. Bring the water to a boil and pour the sugar into it; let everything cool and add it to the alcohol filtered from the lemon peels.
Keep at rest for seven days and then serve at room temperature.
Lemon has been known in Campania since the 1st century. A.D. as demonstrated by the archaeologist A. Maiuri following the discovery in Pompeii of the “House of the Orchard”, today “Villa of the citrus fruit”, with walls painted with fruit trees among which the lemon stands out. Modern citrus growing was introduced by the Arabs to Sicily; and was brought to the Sorrento Peninsula by the Normans. However, we have to wait for the beginning of the 1600s to be able to speak in our Peninsula of intensive citrus growing. It was the Jesuit Massese father Vincenzo Maggio who introduced an example of the first rational cultivation of lemon in the garden of the Compagnia del Gesù in the “Guarazzano” basin.
I remember an orange grove walled in Massa, towards the Amalfi coast, if my memory does not deceive me – I was badly cured of an evil filter – I was stunned as if I had entered an unimaginable labyrinth – the trunks seemed carved in the stone of the caves secret – The flower was like the foam from which immortal flesh is born – The shadow was almost aquatic, modulated by the song of I don’t know which siren banished from the sea.
The Italian writer Gabriele D’Annunzio describes his visit to a citrus grove in Massa Lubrense in his book “Notturno”. Arnaldo Fusco, in his booklet “History of a fund called the Jesus”, identifies the citrus grove described by the imaginative in the fund located in the Guarazzano basin between the lands of the ancient Athenaeus promontory, which had Roman agricultural colonization in the imperial era and purchased in 1600 by the Jesuit from Massese Father Vincenzo Maggio to found a college of the Society of Jesus.