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  • Writer's pictureSu Guillory

Exploring the Delights of Bergamot in Calabria

Nestled in the sun-drenched region of Calabria in southern Italy lies a citrus gem that has captivated the senses of locals and visitors alike for centuries - the bergamot (or bergamotto). Known for its distinctive fragrance and versatile uses, bergamot holds a special place in Calabrian culture and cuisine.

Where it Grows

Calabria's warm Mediterranean climate and fertile soil provide the perfect conditions for cultivating bergamot trees. The majority of bergamot orchards are found along the rugged coastline of the Ionian Sea, particularly in the province of Reggio Calabria. Here, the gentle sea breezes and ample sunshine nurture the growth of these aromatic fruits.

Traditional Uses

Bergamot is perhaps most famous for its essential oil, which is extracted from the peel of the fruit. This precious oil is a key ingredient in the production of perfumes, cosmetics, and aromatherapy products, prized for its uplifting and calming properties.

It's also a key ingredient in Earl Grey tea!

In Calabrian cuisine, bergamot adds a unique twist to both sweet and savory dishes. The tangy zest of bergamot peel is used to flavor desserts like gelato, pastries, and marmalades, while the juice lends a refreshing citrus note to seafood dishes and salads.

Health Benefits

Beyond its culinary and aromatic appeal, bergamot is also celebrated for its potential health benefits. Rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, bergamot is believed to support cardiovascular health by helping to lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. Studies suggest that bergamot may also have antimicrobial and mood-enhancing properties, making it a valuable addition to holistic wellness practices.

The bergamot is more than just a fruit - it's a symbol of Calabria's rich agricultural heritage and natural bounty. From its fragrant orchards overlooking the azure waters of the Mediterranean to its myriad culinary and wellness applications, bergamot continues to enchant and inspire all who encounter it. So, the next time you find yourself in Calabria, be sure to savor the delights of this extraordinary citrus fruit and experience the essence of southern Italian charm.


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