When they’re ready, word begins to spread through the family. The mandarini—mandarin oranges—are ready! This is a moment I wait for eagerly each December, when the mandarins are ready to be picked in Vettica. If you’ve traveled around the Amalfi Coast, or small towns most anywhere in Italy, you’ve likely discovered that many towns have frazioni, or hamlets, that are separate from the town center but are still considered, at least administratively, part of a larger town. Amalfi has several hamlets, including the area called Vettica west town.
The views looking back toward Amalfi are stunning from Vettica. We took a chance yesterday morning when the sun had peeked out from behind the clouds after a few rainy days to go and pick some mandarins. It was a beautiful morning to be surrounded by the delicious scent of oranges!
There were so many! I picked and picked and picked, filling a large bag with the fresh mandarin oranges. After a little while I smelled completely like oranges! Of course, I had to eat the ones I broke by mistake while picking. Such a lovely chore!
I picked more than usual this year, because I plan to make Michelle Fabio’s mandarin jam recipe, which you can find here with the super cute title When Life Gives you Mandarins, Make Mandarin Jam. I also want to make limoncello and mandarincello this year, which are two very traditional liqueurs made on the Amalfi Coast. Yum!
The lemons, which you can see above growing in Vettica, are not quite ripe yet. However, this is the best time of year to pick lemons for limoncello, while they are still a bit green and the rinds have the most intense lemon flavor. I’ve got a big pile of lemons waiting for limoncello in the kitchen, which simply makes me smile. A sweet moment of winter life on the Amalfi Coast!