With going to Italy, I was so focused on planning the wine tastings we would do, that I forgot to research other possible tastings. And Sorrento is THE hot spot for limoncello! Actually it can't be called limoncello if it's not from Sorrento (or the other parts of the Sorrentine peninsula). I actually stumbled upon I Giardini di Cataldo, a limoncello factory/gardens, while flipping through a Rick Steves book. And of course I had to go! I was also intrigued by the prospect of tasting other liquors!
Our intention was to do a tour and a tasting, and since the factory was a short walk from the center of town, we just popped by not knowing any actual timing information. The lady in charge of the tours was out at that moment, but we were told to come back an hour later. The lady in charge was very accommodating; we asked when the next tour was and she said that she could give us one right then. And we were the only people! We were told that the tour was $8 and that we couldn't tour the gardens because the rain made them too muddy to walk around. That was saddening, but understandable, plus we still wanted to do the tastings. The lady told us that the weather was cooler and rainier than it had been during Christmas!
We got to see where the limoncello was made inside and were given a good background on limoncello and how it's made. I honestly had no clue it was so simple. And it tastes so frickin good (and has a pretty high alcohol content)! Sorrento's lemons are special tho, as they are sweeter than your average lemon, making for a better lemon liquor. We tasted the lemons raw, with just a bit of sugar, and boy were they delicious and not too tart! We later tried their limoncello (duh!), an orange liquor, and a mandarin liquor. Limoncello was by far our favorite. I'm not a huge fan of orange liquors (actually I hate them), but this one was far better than triple sec. Although, we didn't get to go into the heart of the gardens, the lady was able to take us to some lemon and orange trees behind the factory building.
We then tried fennel liqour. We both hate anything fennel tasting so we were worried. I think I had such a low expectation that it ended up being better (but not great) than expected. Next was licorice liquor. We had always thought that licorice was in the same family of flavors as fennel so we expected it to taste similar. WRONG! Licorice tastes quite different, tho there is still a faint fennel taste. But the main flavor was more of a molasses, very surprising. We also tried a walnut liquor that was interesting. Good nutty flavor but it was 40% alcohol so I can only handle so much. Lastly, we tried a limoncello baba cake (like a rum baba but the cake is soaked in limoncello instead of rum), lemon marmalade, and lemon gelato! We bought a bottle of the limoncello for ourselves and the girl gave us a lemon and a discount on the tour since we couldn't walk through the gardens! These people were super nice and they make delicious stuff!
Katherine & Bradley
Two engineers with a passion for food and travel! Join us as we eat our way through the world!