LAGO DI GARDA
What a jewel of a place!
Lago di Garda is the largest of the string of beautiful Italian lakes at the foothills of the Alps. It lies at the eastern end between Brescia and Verona. Parts of the lake have a micro climate that is Mediterranean.
You can see olive trees, palms, vineyards, oleanders and the lemon groves for which the region is famous. It has been for centuries the northern – most point in Italy where lemons could be grown. For me the most striking coast of the lake is between the towns of Salo and Riva on the western side.
Tall limestone cliffs go down almost to the water. Small villages and ports dot the water’s edge. Between them you can see fine 18th and 19th century villas with exceptional gardens of giant grandiflora magnolias and old linden and cypress trees.
The most striking feature of this part of the lake are the “limonaie”, the lemon-growing terraces which back onto limestone cliffs to draw the last bit of warmth from the rock. Tall pergola- like structures,which were
covered in winter to protect the lemons from frost, tower over the trees.
The best way to appreciate the beauties of the stretch of the lake is to see it from the water – something I warmly recommend.
Given Lago di Garda is famous for it’s lemons I thought I would give my recipe for Limoncello, Italy’s famous lemon-based liquer.
4 organic lemons, not sprayed
1 litre Vodka
1 cup castor sugar
500 ml water
juice of 1 lemon
Peel the skin off the lemons, being careful not to cut any of the white of the skin, as this will make the Limoncello bitter.
Put lemon peel and 2 cups of Vodka into a jar and let it stand for 4 days.
Make a syrup with the water and sugar. Let it cool and add it to the lemon peel and Vodka.
Now add the remaining Vodka and lemon juice and let it stand in a dark place for one week.
Pass it through a siv and let the Limoncello stand again for another week before drinking it.
You can keep it in the fridge and serve it chilled.