Sunshine, sea & lemons on the Amalfi Coast
Painting, Photography & Walking in 2015Authentic Adventures have another UNESCO World Heritage Site in its sights – the beautiful Amalfi coast. One of Europe’s most breathtaking stretches of coastline. The terraced cliffs are famous for their cultivation of lemons – known as sfusato amalfitano – a larger, local kind, grown along the entire coast. Limoncello tasting anyone? Visit iconic towns such as Positano, arguably the most pretty, Ravello, Amalfi, the Vesuvius National Park and Pompeii - our walking groups climb the volcanic paths to an astonishing view of the Bay of Naples, whilst photographers immerse themselves in Naples itself. Take a boat ride to the island of Capri on your free day! Such an inspiring holiday - be quick to book, we are selling places already!
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More about citrus........written by Bee Wilson, The Kitchen Thinker - Telegraph's Stella magazine.
When the Danish fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen travelled to Italy in 1833, he was dazzled by the orange and lemon trees. "How unfairly we are treated in the North," he wrote. "Here it is paradise."
A paradise of citrus is how I always think of Italy too - where ice-cold limoncello is sipped from tiny glasses on piazzas, and everything from ricotta cake to osso bucco is enlivened with zest. What a joy, therefore, to read Helena Attlee's The Land Where Lemons Grow which tells the story of Italy through its citrus fruit.
For ages the only citrus in Italy - or indeed in Europe - was the citron, or cedro, which was brought to Calabria by the Jews around AD70. It would be another 800 years before sour lemons arrived with the Arab invasion of Sicily. The citron is something else - a truly outlandish object. Ancient Romans used these giant yellow fruits as room fresheners. In Britain we mostly encounter them in the form of candied peel, but fresh citrons are extraordinary, like the gigantic malformed lemons but with a scent that is, as Attlee says, like "spice and sweet violets". they are still grown in Calabria, and the finest, largest specimens can sell for up to £250. Attlee suggests slicing the pith into thin strips to make a salad with parsley and olives. The great surprise is that the pith is the sweetest part. Italian citrus is full of surprises. Attlee, a gardening expert, sees and tastes many weird fruits on her travels. In Tuscan gardens there are fingered lemons "like yellow hands", a throwback to the Renaissance fashion among rich families for collecting rare mutations of citrus trees. The mutations continue in modern Italian citrus farms. Attlee visits a farm in Liguria where there are pink grapefruits and green limes, golden citrons and sweet lemons, navel oranges and multiple varieties of mandarin. One farmer shows her a spherical lemon that "got too friendly with an orange." In Sicily the Aranacia Rossa comes in many varieties. As well as the dark-red Moro and Sanguinello, there is the Tarocco, sometimes called 'half-blood' whose marbled flesh, for Attlee, makes all other oranges seem 'cloyingly sweet'. Despite the depth of Italian citrus mania, it's not easy making a living growing organs. The Mafia used to run the industry but moved on when profits dwindled. Sicilian farmers now suffer at the hands of of super markets that buy cheap and sell at a 500 per cent mark up. "Watch our for China," warns a Sicilian journalist who fears that Italian organs will soon be unable to compete with Asian imports. Let's hope this is wrong. It would be sad indeed if Italy stopped being the land where lemons grow.
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