Because of the challenges posed by the steep coastal terrain, the Amalfi lemon is now a protected product. And something of a national treasure
To its fans and true culinary insiders, the Amalfi lemons are known by the name “sfusato”, which refers to its long tapered shape, and has also received the PGI mark (Protected Geographical Indication) from the European Union, which denotes products of excellence that are tied to very specific regions of production.
The peel is thick and rich with essential oils, the pulp is juicy and moderately acidic, with few seeds. A typical “sfusato” lemon weighs at least 100 grams and, according to studies conducted recently at Naples’ Università degli Studi Federico II, this variety of lemon is one of the richest in Vitamin C.
It’s produced widely in all of the villages and cities on the Amalfi coast, and is almost always picked by hand (at one time, exclusively by women) and carried in large baskets, as the steep terraced orchards make it difficult for mechanical access.
To defend the “sfusato” from the competing Sicilian plantations, which have lower production costs and therefore, prices, the “Costiera gold” is under the protection of Slow Food, which has created a special body, the Consorzio di Tutela Limone Costa d'Amalfi I.G.P.