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Pallini Limoncello Confidential



Limoncello 101 - the history, production regulations and bar management aspects of good limoncello, powered by the Pallini brand, makers of the worlds best premium limoncello.

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Pallini Limoncello Confidential

  1. 1. Limoncello Confidential
  2. 2. The History - Nicola Pallini, born in 1851, grew up poor. - He worked from the age of 6, taught himself to read and write, and by the age of 24 was a prominent, wealthy trader in goods in Antrodoco, 70 miles from Rome, where he built the largest building in town, a four-storey shop, warehouse, factory, winery, liqueurs shop and family home, that still stands. The building also housed the local bank, which Nicola owned. To this day, Nicola's safe is still cemented into the wall of the building.
  3. 3. The History - In 1922, Nicola's son Virgilio moved the wine & spirits side of the business to Rome, and had a big success with one of their first products, mistra, an aniseed liqueur. - The firm moved to it's present, much larger premises on Via Tiburtina in 1962, and continued to have success making alcoholic products, non-alcoholic syrups and the worldwide hit with Sambuca Romana.
  4. 4. The History - Nicola's great-grandson Virgilio took the company to greater heights in the 1970s, and Virgilio launched Pallini Limoncello in 2001. - Virgilio's daughter Micaela came on board in 2001 after completing a Phd in biochemistry. - Her first big job was to improve the quality of Pallini limoncello, which she did by moving from frozen peels to fresh, choosing to pay as much as 12 times more for the best Amalfi lemon peel as opposed to cheaper frozen peels from other lemon types, and by adding back in lemon oils lost during peeling and infusing, to ensure Pallini limoncello displays the full flavour of Amalfi coast lemons.
  5. 5. The Definition EU 110/2008: Min. 100g sugar/liter Min. 15% alcohol (30º) No nature-identical flavourings P. G. I. for: Liquore di limone della Costa d'Amalfi P. G.I. for: Liquore di limone di Sorrento - P. GI = “protected geographical indication”, meaning under EU law something has to come from a specific region. - The PGI is for the lemons – not the limoncello
  6. 6. The History: Citrus - All citrus fruits descend from citrus medica, which originated in southeast Asia and came to Europe via the Silk Road to the Middle East (c. 30 BC) and then via the Muslim annexation of the Iberian peninsula, (711 – 1492) and the Crusades (c. 1100s-1400s) to Europe. - “Citrus” comes from the Greek “kedros”, meaning cedar pine cone. as a knobbly citrus medica (a/k/a citron) does look like a pine cone. - Citrus fruits delight all our tastes – high in both sugar (sweet) and acid (sour) flavours, they can also have bitter flavours, and are remarkably high in umami; an orange contains 150% of the umami of beef! - Unusually for mammals, we can't make our own
  7. 7. The History: Citrus - All existing citrus fruits are hybrids of the citron (l., citrus medica), and/or the mandarine (m., citrus reticulata) and/or the pomelo (r., citrus grandis) - Lemons (citrus x limon) came to the Amalfi coast around 1000AD, and Amalfi lemons were already famous and being sold outside Amalfi by the 1400s.
  8. 8. The Place: Italy - Amalfi Coast is on the coastline on the Gulf of Salerno, in the province of Salerno, in the region of Campania, in Italy.
  9. 9. The Place: Amalfi Coast - Amalfi, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the centre of a powerful, wealthy maritime republic from the 800s to the 1200s, and the fame of it's lemons spread across Europe. - Sorrento, also famous for it's lemons, is “around the corner”, on the Bay of Naples, with a similar – but distinctive – climate, providing a different terroir for the lemons grown there, which are a different type of lemon than the Amalfi lemon.
  10. 10. The Guardians - The Consorzio di Tutela Limone Costa d'Amalfi IGP (Consortium for the Protection of the Amalfi Coast Lemon) was founded in 2002, to protect and promote the Amalfi lemon, sfusato amalfitano Rules for PGI lemons: - Traditional farming methods - Chestnut wood trellises - No more than 800 plants per hectare, yielding no more than 25 tons. - Not less than 100g, nor with juice less than 25%, nor with acidity less than 3.5g/liter Rules for PGI limoncello: - Must be made and bottled in the area where the lemons are grown (in this case Amalfi) - Recipe must contain a minimum 250g lemons/liter - Minimum 25% alcohol, 200-350g sugar/liter
  11. 11. The Lemon: sfusato amalfitano ; - The Amalfi lemon used to make Pallini is a specific type of lemon (citrus x limon) called femminiello (because its ends look like nipples), that is also known as sfusato amalfitano - literally, the “Amalfi spindle”,as it is long and has two spindly ends. - Sfusato amalfitano can reach 2lbs in weight and up to 8 inches long. It's so sweet it can be eaten with being peeled first, but of special interest is the peel, rich in aromatic lemon oils. - Sfusato takes 15-18 months to grow (Florida citrus takes just 4). No fertilisers are used in this fully organic process, and proof of this is that grass grows under the lemon trees. Avoiding fertiliser means lemons grow more slowly.
  12. 12. The Lemon ; - The Amalfi coastline farms lemons (and other fruit and vegetables) on steep, almost vertical terraces carved out of the hills and mountains. - The soil contains ballast soil from all around the Mediterranean, Middle East and north Africa, from when Amalfi was a maritime republic, creating a unique “terroir” for growing lemons, together with the large amount of sunshine the lemons receive from being grown so high.
  13. 13. The Lemon - The lemon terraces are netted, to prevent birds feeding on them, and no synthetic fertilisers may be used. Netting also prevents lemons banging into each other when its windy. - Lemons have to be harvested by hand, then walked down – or up! - steep hills to the few roads that twist around the terraced hills.
  14. 14. The Harvest Photo courtesy of Camper English - Sfusato grows so large and heavy that the lemon trees are trained along chestnut pergolas, to support their weight.
  15. 15. The Harvest Photo courtesy of Camper English - Lemons are harvested by hand as they ripen, then walked down – or up! - steep hills to the few roads that twist around the terraced hills.
  16. 16. Give or sell? - It's very common, especially in Italy, to be offered a free glass of limoncello after a meal; many bars and restaurants make their own, and as such consider it a cheap way to “buy” a customer a drink. - Of course, this represents a missed opportunity to sell the limoncello to them; it also encourages consumers to view limoncello as something generic, interchangeable, and almost certainly cheap. - Adding just $6 to each guest's bill by selling them a glass of limoncello instead of giving it to them, would result in significantly higher sales, better cashflow – and higher tips. - But to do that, it has to be good limoncello....
  17. 17. Make or Buy? - You can make quite OK limoncello at home IF you have access to 96% alcohol to infuse the lemon peels into – but it will cost you time and money, and the problem is stability. - When exposed to the air, all liquids oxidise, especially those containing alcohol, altering the color and flavour significantly. - Unstabilised home-made limoncello will also change color when exposed to sunlight. - Using 96% alcohol also speeds up infusion hugely, taking just a few days, and increasing the chances of over-extraction.
  18. 18. Run The Numbers... Recipe (courtesy Jeff Morgenthaler's “Bar Book” USD$ 15 lemons 5 1.5 liters 50% alcohol vodka 36 800g sugar 1 5 cups water 0 42 Per 750ml bottle: 21 Pallini Limoncello Per 750ml bottle: 19.99 - This is a decent recipe from a highly respected bartender and bar manager, Jeffrey Morgenthaler. - And on the face of it, there isn't much to choose between the two.
  19. 19. Run The Numbers... Recipe (courtesy Jeff Morgenthaler's “Bar Book” USD$ 15 lemons 5 1.5 liters 50% alcohol vodka 36 800g sugar 1 5 cups water 0 Total 42 Per 750ml bottle: 21 Wash, peel lemons, infuse 0.75hr Make sugar syrup, add to liquid 0.125hr Fine strain and bottle 0.125 Total 1 hour Per 750ml bottle: 0.5 hour Pallini Limoncello Per 750ml bottle: 19.99 - But when you factor in staff cost, the price seems far higher. How much do you pay staff per hour? - This also raises questions of consistency – will staff always make the limoncello in exactly the same way?
  20. 20. Run The Numbers... Recipe (courtesy Jeff Morgenthaler's “Bar Book” USD$ 15 lemons 5 1.5 liters 50% alcohol vodka 36 800g sugar 1 5 cups water 0 Total 42 Per 750ml bottle: 21 Wash, peel lemons, infuse 0.75hr Make sugar syrup, add to liquid 0.125hr Fine strain and bottle 0.125hr Total 1 hour Per 750ml bottle: 0.5 hour Wastage per 750ml bottle 20% Pallini Limoncello Per 750ml bottle: 19.99 - Unstable products lead to higher wastage. Conservatively, 20% of home-made limoncello has to be thrown away after a month or two, as its flavour has degraded. 15% of the alcohol will also be absorbed by the lemon peels, resulting in higher wastage. - Is it legal? - Finally, home-made limoncello that has to be kept in the freezer, wrapped in silver foil, has no eye -appeal, no backbar presence – unlike Pallini limoncello. - If you can, execute a tasting between Pallini and a limoncello made with Jeffrey's method. Each sample should have been opened 2 weeks ago.
  21. 21. And Finally... Family owned (since 1875!) Organic, authentic sffusatto amallffiittano lemons Artisanal production Low in alcohol Low in sugar Stable, consistent, beautiful –– and delicious!