My friend Angela is from Bologna, Italy but has lived in Georgia with her husband, Luca for the past 8 years. I try to visit regularly to see them, eat wonderful food and practice my ever struggling Italian. (I'm a bit obsessive about Italy...)
One of my favorite features in her home is her silver tray of little glasses she keeps in her dining room. They're called bicchierini in Italian. (bee-key-air-ee-knee)
For the past 25 years, Angela has collected these antique glasses in Italy. She loves that each one holds a a unique story and personality. It's true, with each visit I find myself picking a new favorite.
In Italy, the bicchierini are used for after dinner drinks such as Grappa or Amari. Angela uses her little glasses for a homemade limoncello recipe. Limoncello is originally from the Campania region of southern Italy where the best lemons grow. Learn more on the history of limoncello here. (recipe below)
Angela bought her glasses at various Mercatini dell'Antiquariato or Antique Markets throughout Italy. One of her favorites is located in Arezzo, in the Tuscany region. The majority of her little glasses, however, she found at her hometown market in Bologna called, Mercatino Antiquariato di Bologna. Located in Piazza Santo Stefano, this gathering takes place every second weekend of the month (pictured above.) I hope to travel to Bologna this fall and add a few bicchierini to her collection, and perhaps start my own! Grazie mille alla mia cara amica...
Angela shares her Crema di Limoncello recipe below. If you've had limoncello before I bet you'd like this version as it's a bit smoother and has a quality much like Bailey's. Delicioso!
CREMA DI LIMONCELLO
*12 LEMONS. Clean, unwaxed with nice, plump skins. Preferably organic and the skins should give off a lemon scent.
*4 cups of EVERCLEAR (95%- 190 proof)
* 8 cups of SKIM MILK, if you like it less strong, add more milk, such as 9-10 cups)
*10 cups of SUGAR
* Pinch or dash of VANILLA, powder or extract
1. Wash the lemons with hot water and brush them to remove any residue of pesticides or wax.
2. Remove the peel from the lemons with a sharp peeler or fine grater, carefully avoiding the bitter white pith. If any white pith remains on the back of a strip of peel, scrape it off as it will create a bitter taste.
3. Put all the Everclear in a big glass jar. Add lemon zest.
4. Cover jar with sealed lid and leave to steep in a cool, dark place for about 2 weeks.
5. Heat the milk in a big saucepan (covered). Add vanilla, stir and let it cool for a couple of hours.
6. Add the sugar and vanilla to the milk and heat again to completely melt the sugar. (just a few minutes)
7. Let the mix cool and place in the fridge overnight to ensure it's really cold.
8. Strain out the lemon peels and keep the alcohol.
9. Add the flavored alcohol to the cold mix and stir.
10. Put the liquor in clean bottles, seal tightly and store in the freezer. *The recipe will yield 3 large bottles.
Photos and Content: Sweet Peach. Market Photo by Angela Messori.