On 21 March, The Feast of our patron Saint Benedict, the Sant’Anselmo community was treated to limoncello, a traditional Italian “digestivo”, made by Head Chef Antonio Giovinazzo and Monk-Refectorian Antoine Sossa, of Agbang Abbey in Togo.
Chef Antonio joked that the cooks gave the limoncello two names: “Sapienza” for the Ateneo and “Saggezza” for the Collegio communities. In reality, there is no difference, the two tastes are the same, notably less sweet than the traditional Italian limoncello, with more of the lemon zest shining through. Brother Antoine noted that the lemons came from our own trees, grown and harvested here at Sant’Anselmo.
Chef Antonio also said that they plan to make two other versions of the traditional “-cello” using the same process, but based on oranges and pomegranates instead of lemons.
Sant’Anselmo plans to use these liqueurs as gifts for illustrious guests and for our own special feasts and occasions. It is a personal touch, the kind that creates community between our colleagues, students, residents and guests.
Limoncello is a traditional Italian liqueur that is made by steeping lemon zest in alcohol, usually vodka or grappa, for several weeks to extract the essential oils and flavor. After the lemon zest is strained out, the alcohol is mixed with a simple syrup made from water and sugar. The resulting liqueur is bright yellow in color and has a sweet and tangy flavor with a distinct lemon aroma.
The history of limoncello in Italy can be traced back to the early 20th century, when it was first produced in the Campania region of southern Italy. It is said to have originated in the town of Sorrento, where the lemons grown in the area are known for their unique flavor and aroma.
Chef Antonio has prepared first-class cuisine for the Sant’Anselmo community for 40 years. Brother Antoine has served as monk-refectorian for 11 years. We extend our thanks to them and our gratitude for the loving efforts of our entire “cucina” team. Together, they consistently create superb Italian meals and delicious artisanal sweets for our community. It is certainly a key component to the quality of our life here, and we appreciate their work.