Thursday, December 20, 2012

Limoncello

Bottle returned from our last trip to Italia
I have a special affinity for Italy.  I learned the language in college.  I studied abroad in Milan.  I almost found a job there early in my career until circumstances kept me in the US.  In all my travels and sojourns, I keep finding myself drawn back to the richness of its land, people, and culture.  There is so much to love about the place, as simplistic as it would be to encapsulate today's Italy from its varied history, regions, dialects, and cuisine.  I find that limoncello stands a sturdy symbol of what Italy is all about.

Italians turn the everyday into an art.  They do it with the simplicity of the earth, extracting its essence.  The people are sweet, strong, and then linger after association.  Handled precisely, with particular methods and rhythms, Italians aspire to transcend the moment for eternity.  I can continue, but these qualities are inherent in the best of what a limoncello has to offer.  Limoncello is very simply the zest of lemon peel steeped in alcohol.  It can be nothing more than lemons and sugar for some of the best concoctions.  The typical method is to drink limoncello after dinner as a digestivo, not before or after; this is when the sweetness of the lemon coupled with the potency of grain alcohol is most divine.  Best served chilled, straight from the freezer.  And even better consumed with friends and family, as it should always be.

I'm looking forward to opening this bottle over the holidays and rediscovering the essence of Italy in a shot glass all over again.
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