A stranger among us: bergamot

Calabria, more specifically the area of Rada dei Giunchi,  holds the world record for the production of bergamot. Here, a temperate-tropical and humid microclimate has supported cultures since 1750.  

Calabria is where 80% of the world's citrus bergamot fruit is grown

Bergamot is a peculiar citrus fruit, both for its origins and genesis. 

Some think it comes from lemons or limes, but bitter oranges are more likely to be its closest relatives. However, it is botanically categorised as a species on its own. The name may come from the Turkish word begarmundi, which means the Lords pear tree,but even in this case mystery surrounds the inebriating scent of this fruit. 

Part art, part science, the processing of this early fruit requires impeccable timing and demands great skill to maintain the integrity and flavor

Its flesh is extremely bitter, so it cant be consumed on its own. It is usually added in small quantities to that of other citruses, or for the production of Bergamino, a traditional Calabrian liqueur. 

It is a key ingredient in perfumes that acts as a sort of binding agent, generally improving scents and making them last longer

The largest part of Calabrias bergamot production is destined to the extraction of essential oil. In order to obtain one liter of it, 200 kg of bergamots are necessary: the final product is exported all over the world and used largely in the perfume industry, especially as main essence in eau de cologne. 

Its dried peels, which keep for a long time their fresh and aromatic scent, are used to make precious tobacco tins, sought after by collectors because of their elegance

 

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