A lemon in Tramonti

Un limone a Tramonti

Thinking of the Amalfi Coast usually means imagining the scent and sound of the sea. The waves that slowly mark the days of Amalfi, Positano or Atrani, lying for centuries on one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.

Yet, the Amalfi Coast hides a rocky soul, hard and unscratchable like the mountain that defines its contours. Tramonti is the center of this heart, made of granite rock and leafy woods. To reach Tramonti, take a road carved into the side of the mountain that divides the Amalfi Coast from the hinterland of the Campania plain.

Tramonti is a land of small vineyards, hidden gardens and fragrant citrus fruits, in the Monti Lattari Regional Park. One above all: the lemon. The famous Sfusato Amalfitano, that means with a narrow and tapered shape, has one of its preferred territories in these small valleys carved into the stone. Felicia, who has always lived here in Tramonti, in the peace of her country farmhouse, knows it well.

Felicia welcomes us with her daughter Giovanna in the courtyard of the farm, embraced by the hut-shaped vines among which dense red grapes stand out. The small rows are only the prelude to what awaits us. A few steps to immerse yourself in a chestnut grove, where the fruits are still wrapped in the thick thorny mantle that protects them from the vagaries of the climate. From the entrance to the farm you come to a patio where a table is set: the best way to welcome a guest or a traveler.

Felicia reaches the outdoor kitchen, already equipped with work tools. All the ingredients are ready on the work table: today she prepares trofie (a kind of pasta) with lemon scent and lemon tiramisu. Pastry board, flour, water and hands ready to mix. Felicia involves the guests of the cooking class, with her smile and her clear eyes.

Why the trofie? «Because this pasta goes along well with the scents of lemon, despite being a typical Ligurian pasta shape», she explains. The trofie born from Felicia’s hands are thin and tapered. Her fingers run quickly and confidently across the counter. In a short time, flour and water become a compact dough which will then be processed strictly by hand.

While she prepares her trofie, she tells how lemon is much more than an ingredient on the Amalfi Coast: «In the kitchen it's everything», she says. The scents spread from the moment Felicia puts the fresh pasta in boiling water and at the same time prepares the sauce in the pan. It is clear why this dish was renamed “trofie with lemon scent”. In a few seconds, the kitchen is full of citrus scents that give a great sense of freshness, even just to smell. Small miracles of cuisine on the Amalfi Coast, in the Tramonti version.

After the trofie it’s time for tiramisu! Once again, an incredible density and perfume. They bring to mind memories of damp land and summers in the countryside. Felicia has the rare talent of making memories travel, thanks to her cooking; bring your mind back to days marked by the rhythm of the seasons, without frenzy.

You understand this well when, sitting at the table, you will find that the hours have literally flown away. A plate of trofie, a taste of local cold cuts and cheeses, a bruschetta where the distinctive ingredient is, once again, lemon. And so, late in the afternoon, under a country pergola, it becomes clear that to go along with time, instead of compressing it at any cost, is the greatest joy.