Sorrento Limoncello From A Carmel Restaurateur
Rich Pepe may have grown up in New Jersey, but his family’s southern Italian roots have lived on deliciously since his grandparents emigrated here.
His upbringing, surrounded by a large extended family who made their own wine, jams, breads and pastas, had a profound impact on him. Indeed, after arriving on the Monterey Peninsula, Pepe worked as a baker, and eventually purchased the historic Carmel Bakery in Carmel-by-the-Sea. He, his wife and two sons now oversee half a dozen Italian-inspired establishments in the area. Besides the bakery, they include Little Napoli, Bistro Italian; Vesuvio; and Peppoli at Pebble Beach.
If that weren’t enough, he also makes his own limoncello. PepeCello is hand-crafted in small batches in Sorrento, using only certified organic Sorrento lemons.
The highly fragrant and bumpy, thick-skinned lemons are primarily used for making authentic limoncello. Pepe’s family recipe for it dates to 1902.
I had a chance recently to sample the PepeCello. It’s light yellow in hue, with a slight syrupy body on the palate. It’s plenty citrusy and bright, with sweetness at the forefront balanced by undercurrents of subtle tang and bitter rind.
It’s refreshing just straight as an aperitif or digestive. Or mixed into a cocktail. Or topped off with a little sparkling wine.
I’m actually thinking it would be wonderful whisked with some powdered sugar to make a glaze for lemon pound cake or doughnuts.
Try for yourself. A 750ml bottle is $29 on Amazon.