If you have ever been to Italy or eaten at an Italian restaurant abroad, you definitely know about Limoncello, a citrus-based lemon liqueur that is served well chilled at the end of a meal as as an after-dinner digestivo. Limoncello is one of the most popular liqueurs in Italy and through the years it has become popular in all corners of the world. Restaurants in the US, for example, are now increasingly offering limoncello on their beverage and dessert menus, while many have started to simply offer it to their clients at the end of a meal alongside the check. It's a way to capture the client's gratitude, make sure they are happy and come back for more. The fact that great quantities of limoncello can simply be offered makes you wonder about the quality of the product.
“We are trying to introduce people to true limoncello, something natural and not chemical that complements a meal or that can be used in cocktails, as its uses are many,” Diego Rodino' di Miglione of Àrvero Limoncello told i-italy. “Everybody thinks they have the perfect recipe for making limoncello. You ask people and they tell you that their mom or grandmother make the best around, then they try a natural product, made by certain simple rules and they immediately can tell the difference.
The reason why we've started making Àrvero Limoncello is that at the moment 90% or even more of all limoncello out there is first and foremost made in places that are not the right original places, the citrus itself is not from Campania, the region where Limoncello comes from. In southern Italy we are slowly losing our supremacy, if you want to call it that, in Limoncello production and we let anybody else produce any sort of lemon liqueur and call it Limoncello or even Limoncino or Lemoncello. Nowadays, a liqueur that is labeled limoncello is made in Florida or, if we want to talk about Italy, it is made even in Piedmont, a region that is great for wine but that is too cold for limoncello. In my family, we used to make limoncello for ourselves with fruit from our land in Massa Lubrense. Massa Lubrense is a paradise between Capri and Sorrento, on the Amalfi Coast. It is an ideal place for any kind of production: olive oil, fresh fruit & citrus, dairy products and cheeses. We produce our Limoncello there using traditional methods, with no addition of lemon paste to add color or other flavors, chemicals and preservatives. We called it Àrvero.”
In Neapolitan dialect Árvero means tree and Árvero limoncello is a tribute to the uniqueness of these magnificent lemon trees that give this liqueur its distinct character. A true Árvero has its roots in the peninsula bordering the south of the Gulf of Naples. The so-called “femminiello ovale sorrentino” is the giant lemon of the Sorrento Peninsula. The thick, juicy skin of this fruit is the source of the aromatic oils that give the alcoholic infusion its unique color and inimitable aroma. As a demonstration of its authenticity, the bottled Limoncello often shows the presence of the oils in the neck of the bottle.
“At first we used clear glass bottles,” Diego explained, “but people who are not in the know saw the oils at the neck of the bottle and thought it was not a good sign. Consumers need to be educated, meanwhile we are using frosted bottles!”
Árvero, made at Distillerie Nastro d’Oro a high-quality distillery, distinguishes itself from other limoncellos by using traditional recipes and pursuing a tireless sourcing regime that ensures only the finest ingredients go into the liqueur. The lemons get picked at 6 am and by 9 am they have already been washed and processed for the infusion. They are processed locally, early in the morning to preserve the right humidity, without being frozen or stored. The result is a limoncello, made from a hydro-alcoholic infusion of fresh lemon zest and sugar, with rich aromas, a naturally vivid yellow color and a vibrant flavor.
“We want to give Limoncello the importance it deserves,” Diego continued, “Giving it away diluted or with an abundance of chemicals puts it immediately in an inferior product category. Limoncello is not a PDO (Protected designation of origin) product but it must be traditionally and entirely manufactured - prepared, processed and produced - within its specific region, following traditional methods and using only certain ingredients to acquire its unique properties. Also, we want to prove that limoncello is both a stand alone liqueur and an ideal ingredient for cocktails. We encourage mixologists to use it for their concoctions and we are organizing parties were these recipes can be tasted by all.”
At the moment Àrvero can be purchased in NYC at Mr wright, in the UES, and at Rosetta Winery, in the Financial District. It is also available for online purchases www.limoncelloarvero.com and in other states, such as Illinois, as it can be found at Eataly Chicago. “Having our product at Eataly makes us proud,” Diego concluded, “Eataly is an institution as it is home only to products of Italian excellence. When you try to be selected by their product experts you know you are running against great competitors. Being on Eataly's shelves has been our goal from the very beginning of our adventure and making it is an acknowledgment that we are going in the right direction.”