By Sandy Myhre

As tours go, there aren’t many that can top one in Italy seeking the essence and taste of limoncello and guided by Italians.

This tour has, in fact, a distinctly New Zealand flavour, which makes it even more palatable for those of us from the Southern Hemisphere.  Let’s explain. 

When Andrea and Marzia Loggia arrived in New Zealand over a decade ago they decided to produce limoncello. It’s said so simply and was anything but.  They started with the raw ingredient, of course, which is lemons.  They were grown on their property in Kerikeri which is considered the heart of the citrus-growing basket of New Zealand. That was a good start but a start only.

Paolo (left) and Andrea Loggia from Sovrano Limoncello

Then came setting up the technical equipment and they had to import, they had to comply with Council, health and safety, regulations, rules, you know how it is.  And they had to start earning money and feeding the family.

They set up in markets and toured around most of the North Island selling bottle by bottle.  It was a hard grind.

Fast forward ten years and Sovrano Limoncello have won numerous international awards, beating the Italians at their own game essentially.  They are a well-established business, well-known in the region and in restaurants around the country and they are now exporting.  Their limoncello now includes around ten other varieties and styles.

Judges said of this limoncello rated on of the best in the world: “Cloudy yellow pearl color. Bright fresh lemon zest aromas with a plush, fruity sweet medium-full body and a long intensely concentrated and pure 3-D lemon and honey finish. A monumental Limoncello ”

Helping in the business in the Italian way is eldest son, Paolo Loggia.  He has a double degree in architecture, but he still knows how to make and market limoncello because he’s grown up with it.  Together with his partner Brie Murdoch, they decided to celebrate limoncello in the best way they know how – by seeing, tasting, drinking and touring in Italy.

The tour departs Auckland on 19th June and arrives in Rome then on to Sorrento with a private driver no less. From there it’s one of those tours that can only be tasted:

Make your own limoncello.  An Italian ceramics class at another limoncello estate.  Wine tour of Mt Vesuvius, private boat tour around the Island of Capri, another limoncello estate on the Amalfi Coast, head to Italy’s largest winery, explore Ravello, sightseeing in Rome. 

As I write I can feel the citrus drink slithering down the throat as I make my own ceramics before heading out to a winery to drink the fruit of the vine – and escorted by people who know New Zealand!  If that sounds like a publicity blurb it is but I’m not going. 

The whole point of writing this is, it’s a rare opportunity.  Make the most of it.

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