Limone di Rocca Imperiale PGI is a fresh fruit belonging to the Citrus limon Burm species, deriving from the Femminello cultivar.
The production area of Limone di Rocca Imperiale PGI is in the administrative territory of the Municipality of Rocca Imperiale, in the Province of Cosenza, in the Calabria region.
Both the establishment of new plantations and the varietal conversion of already existing lemon groves with cultivars belonging to the Femminello group are permitted. The plants are pruned towards the end of winter, without overlapping with the fruit bearing period. Irrigation varies depending on the season and needs of the plants, while fertilising is based on the fertility of the soil and is carried out according to the production method, as is pest control. The fruit are harvested year-round and the procedure must be carried out with extreme care so as not to damage the lemons. They must be harvested during dry weather, waiting for when the fruit are no longer covered in the condensation from the previous night.
Appearance and Flavour
Limone di Rocca Imperiale PGI has an elongated shape and a medium size, with a rind that varies from greenish-yellow to yellow in colour. The flesh is seedless and pale yellow, with clear and abundant juice, which is neither sour nor bitter.
Lemon production in the area of Rocca Imperiale dates back to the XVI century, while the first exports were registered in the period between 1865 and 1870. In 1877, lemon production in Rocca, as far as the number of plants were concerned, was only inferior to that of Trebisacce, Corigliano and Rossano, which were much larger municipalities than Rocca Imperiale. Starting in the 1950s, traditional crops were replaced with specialised plantations, which are still functioning today. The name “Limone di Rocca Imperiale” has been well-established for over 25 years and the current use of the designation, including in bordering areas, is demonstrated by the commercial and transportation documents of farms in the area, parish records, local fairs and events organized by professional agricultural organizations. As testimony to the vitality of a tradition that is deeply rooted in the territory, during the first half of August there is the Limoni di Rocca Imperiale Fête, held in the town of the same name and which for several years has been the most renowned occasion for tasting the product.
Limone di Rocca Imperiale PGI should be kept in the fridge or in a cool, dry place, preferably in a paper bag. Its juice and essential oils make this product particularly suitable for making sorbets, ice-cream and desserts, like lemon tart with Limone di Rocca Imperiale PGI cream, for example. The rind can be used to aromatise tea, tonic water, or cocktails, but also grated on top of fish and meat, or to garnish pasta dishes like spaghetti “al limone”. In cooking it is best used in sauces, for example in the recipe for cod nuggets with Limone di Rocca Imperiale PGI sauce. It is also used in oven-baked dishes and liqueurs.
Limone di Rocca Imperiale PGI has a juice yield of higher than 30% and a limonene content – an essential oil that gives the product an intense and persistent fragrance – of over 70%.