by Claudia Fontana
The mild climate and the fertility of the lands of Massa Lubrense make this place rich and unique for the products that are produced. Since ancient times, in the area, very tasty fruits, cereals but above all oil and wine have been cultivated. The latter, according to the historian Cesare Capaccio, who lived between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in the Kingdom of Naples, as well as being of excellent quality, it was “light and useful to the sick”. Nowadays the salad tomatoes, oil, cheeses, apples and lemons of Massa are very popular among citizens and visitors.
The tomato of Massa Lubrense has an intense red color and perfectly matches with the fiordilatte. Seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and a fresh basil leaf, it forms the famous Caprese, a delight for the most refined palates. Its cultivation dates back to the early twentieth century when, bringing the lemons to America, the sailors of the area imported the seeds.
The extra virgin olive oil, another one among the native products, comes from the olives of the wonderful olive groves sloping down to the sea. Its cultivation dates back to ancient times, and pilgrims, who brought the oil as a gift to the goddess Minerva in a sanctuary in Massa dedicated to her, believed that she was the inventor of olives and oil. Its color is yellow, tending to green, fluid, balanced and sweet, not very acidic.
The fiordilatte and the provolone del monaco are the specialties of the many dairies in the area. The latter has been produced since 1700 and is obtained with a more cooked curd than caciocavallo. Maturation is slow and does not require the addition of preservatives or enzymes. From Vico Equense to Massa Lubrense, many factories that produce provolone del monaco have formed a protection consortium bringing this product to national and international attention.
Another one among the products of this land is the famous limoncella apple. Of ancient origin, this type of apple is mainly linked to the village of Sant’Agata sui due golfi. The apple is named in this way because of its tart aroma, which is reminiscent of citrus fruits. It is also often used in the preparation of jams and pies.
But it is the prince of citrus fruits, the lemon, that is the most famous product of Massa Lubrense: it has a yellow pulp and is rich in essential oils and vitamin C. In the famous Lemon festival, held every year in the summer months in the center of Massa, the lemon is used in a thousand ways, from appetizers to desserts, on pizza and with cheeses. The abundant juice and the thin perfumed peel make it an ideal product for granita and the famous limoncello.