Tag Archives: gifts

A bitter sweet affair.

The Italians have a love affair with lemons. They are grown pretty much all over the country, from north to south. Along the northern shores of Lake Garda, the ruined greenhouses, or lemon gardens, are reminders of the 18th century heyday of citrus growing here, to which the town of Limone sul Garda owes its name. In Amalfi lemons grow in the terraced gardens all along the coast, hang for sale in tied bunches from walls, doors and windows, and flavour the drink that finishes almost every meal here. In fact lemons helped to make Amalfi rich – between about 1500 and 1800 the major market for its lemons were northern European navies and ship owners, who bought the fruit by the millions in an attempt to protect their sailors against scurvy. Today it is Sicily, not Amalfi, that is Italy’s most prolific lemon grower, and was probably its first, as it is generally believed that the Arabs imported lemon trees there from India. It wasn’t long before the cultivation of lemons had spread all over southern Italy, where the climate provides the ideal growing conditions. Continue reading

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Shortbread. But not as we know it.

Some like it hot: the Italians like it sweet. Throughout the country the tradition of visiting la pasticceria – the pastry shop – is alive and kicking. In the morning people drop in for a pastry and maybe a coffee if the shop is a bar pasticceria, in the afternoon and evening, for sweets and biscuits. And a few pastries or biscotti are commonly bought as a small gift, or token of thanks. We sell a small range of the kind of things you would find in an Italian pasticceria in the Everything Sweet section of our online shop.

Now we’ve discovered a biscuit maker in the south of Italy who is producing some wonderful products using purely natural ingredients. When we were there recently we were like, well… kids in a biscuit factory. (It was a bit like a scene from Willy Wonka!) Continue reading

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