Stuffed lemons in Capri: the new trend is viral – Italian cuisine reinvented by Gordon Ramsay

Stuffed lemons in Capri: the new trend is viral

THE stuffed lemons in Capri they went viral. Once you disembark at the port you are greeted by a sea of ​​tourists, porters, and… lemons. Just walk along the Marina Grande pier to be struck by the quantity of lemons that appear everywhere: on the tables, in the baskets, in the windows of the ice cream parlors. Lemons have always been a symbol of Capri, they decorate souvenirs and every product Made in Capri or supposedly so, from watches to tablecloths, but they have never been the great protagonists in the kitchen. At the table the Caprese salad, the Caprese sandwich, the Caprese cake, even the Caprese cutlet were the masters, decidedly less lemons. In recent years, however, they have turned into a viral phenomenon, in a stuffed version.

«But was it me who didn’t remember them before or is it something new? I ask the boy who accompanies me in a taxi to my destination. «It’s something new – he tells me – «something from the last few years, you know… social media. And in fact the last time I was in Capri was 2020, the year without international tourism but also the one in which TikTok is exhibited, and with it, from the following year, the Capri lemons. Lemons filled with sorbet and lemon ice cream stand out on the tables, in people’s hands, girls take selfies holding huge yellow fruits from which umbrellas and straws emerge, “filled” with limoncello spritzes.

Lemon sorbet… in lemon

From 80s desserts to stuffed fruits, looking for the inventor of stuffed lemons in Capri risks being complicated because they are to all intents and purposes part of our national imagination. However, there are certainties: before being sold by Bindi and Antica Gelateria del Corso, fruit filled with ice cream was invented by Matteo Napoli, recently deceased, founder of the historic Gelateria Matteo in 1958 in Lancusi, in the heart of the Irno Valley. He was the inventor of the so-called “fruits”, so popular that they were much requested by VIPs and today sold from Baronissi’s laboratory to half of Europe. In the 1980s at Don Alfonso 1890 in Sant’Agata dei due Golfi, the emptied lemon house hosted the Concerto di Limoni, lemon milk cream, lemon staple and a lemon cream cream puff. In 2017, frozen fruits become popular again thanks to Cédric Grolet, a celebrity pastry chef from beyond the Alps who creates what looks like a lemon but is actually a trompe-l’œil, which in French means “deception of the eye”, and is instead a mousse filled with layers of goodness. He even writes a book about it, Fruitspublished in 2017, and launches a hashtag as popular as his Instagram profile, #cgfruits.

Lemon sorbet, in the square

Stuffed lemons in Capri are therefore not an invention, but certainly an intuition. At the Bar Gelateria Grotta Azzurra, a renowned artisanal ice cream shop on the island since 1970, in Anacapri and at the branch in the small square on Capri, they mainly focus on lemons. It’s nothing new: «We started 5 years ago – one of the partners tells me, Fabrizio Brunetti. In 2021 they churn out the lemon-shaped single portion, a bit like Cédric Grolet, and now in addition to serving the lemon sorbet with lemon in the cup they have also designed a ceramic cup, for those who sit at the table. Their lemons are small, or rather they are “normal”, they are Sorrento PGI lemons, which is more rounded, with an oval shape, while the sfusato amalfitano and the Amalfi lemon have thick and wrinkled skin, very irregular, and ends with a sort of point. Very different from those huge cedars that are used to serve cocktails. But those are more fashionable down at the Marina Grande pier.

Cocktails in Marina Grande

The places in the port now have them printed on the menu and it is more difficult to find one that doesn’t serve them. Antonio, known as Tony Lemon, was already serving the Limoncello Spritz (lemon granita, limoncello and prosecco) at Molo20, also in Marina Grande, in 2019, but it seems to have taken hold since after Covid. Antonio Aprea from Bar Aprea, right in front of the hydrofoil pier, explains it to me. «Capri was the first, as always, to launch the fashion, as it did 30 years ago with limoncello. Lemon is our resource he tells me in front of a window of ice cream and lemon« this will have a maximum of 4 years, it was done but little, today thanks to social media it has become a must. People come and ask for it”, he explains to me. It has already become a new classic, they are popping up like mushrooms, social media confirms it, tourists go crazy for it on TikTok and in a few years they will write in books that it was invented here, in Capri, who knows in what distant era. But in the meantime they still don’t do it at the historic Bonocore ice cream and pastry shop in the center.

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